Technological watch

Kaneka Belgium's biofoam shortlisted for Essenscia Innovation Award 2019  

Japanese technology-driven specialty chemicals firm Kaneka Belgium, based in Westerlo, Belgium was one of the six finalists in the essenscia Innovation Award competition 2019. The biannual essenscia Innovation Award is the most prestigious prize for industrial innovation for chemistry and life sciences in Belgium.

Liège-based life sciences company Kaneka Eurogentec was also nominated for the award. The official essenscia award ceremony took place on April 2, 2019, at the Palace of the Academies in Brussels, where H.R.H. Princess Astrid presented the innovation award to the winning company, Mithra.

Kaneka Belgium was nominated for the development of a new, sustainable packaging material, which can be organically recycled, but is also biodegradable in the - marine and soil - environment

The innovation project includes the development of a bio-based and biodegradable foam particle starting from a natural polymer PHBH™ and is the result of a successful merging of Kaneka's fermentation and macromolecular core technologies.

“The sustainable innovation spirit of this material is indisputable. No matter where this material ends-up, it will degrade into water, CO2, and biomass by the micro-organisms available in nature. The development allows producing innovative packaging, fully in-line with the circular economy, integrating the added value of compostability as end-of-life and opens up new perspectives in waste management systems”, says Dr. Erwin Lepoudre, Business Manager Biodegradable Polymers.

Today, Kaneka's polyolefin foam particles are already widely used in packaging thanks to their lightweight, durability and excellent insulating properties.The newly developed bio-based and biodegradable foam particles can be simply moulded using existing equipment into food and non-food packaging, without sacrificing the key features of polyolefin foams.

Luc Point, General Manager Foam & Residential Techs: “the growth in the foam market has led Kaneka Belgium to expand the capacity of its foam production unit. Our unique access to both the foam particle technology and the natural polymer PHBH™ has prompted us to develop and produce a bio-based and biodegradable foam particle”.

Kaneka Belgium has invested €15 in the construction of a brand-new state-of-the-art foam production and R&D center, enabling high-end product innovation. The start-up of the new facilities is scheduled for later this year.


Publication date: 04/04/2019

Bioplastics magazine (News)

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2020-07-14