Project Results

Demonstration plant project to produce polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymer from waste products of bakery industry

Final results achieved:

Selection of different bakery waste for the production of LA. Three bakery waste: bread crust, sponge cake and stale bread.
Production of LA through fermentation of selected bakery waste. LA with the purity required for PLA production, with the same yield as typical fermentations of other feedstocks.
Production of PLA through polymerization by lactide route. PLA with suitable purity and rheological properties for the production of films and sheets by conventional extrusion processes.
PLA packages from bakery waste. PLA bags/trays for the packaging of different bakery products.
Validation of new packages for different bakery products. Validation of bags/trays for shortbreads, cookies and sliced bread.
Environmental studies for the new packages. New packages are compostable and recyclable. Environmental impacts of the PLA packages from bakery waste could be in the same order as PLA packages from corn if the processes developed are industrialized.
Economic analysis of the new packages. The viability of a medium scale PLA production plant would be viable by collecting bakery waste from at least two big bakery companies providing about 4,000 TPY of waste each one.
Regulatory analysis. New packages fulfil specific legislation for the use of plastics in food contact applications. They are also in line with current European environmental legislation/regulations.

» RESULT 1: Show the technical viability of the preindustrial process of LA from bakery waste. [ACHIEVEMENT: 100%]

» RESULT 2: Reduce the environmental costs of the use of enzymatic fermentations for obtaining LA cultures. [ACHIEVEMENT: 100%]

» RESULT 3: Reduce the broth cost (nearly 50% of the overall costs) of the LA fermentation. [ACHIEVEMENT: 100%]

» RESULT 4: Scale up the polymerization of PLA using LA from bread waste fermentation. [ACHIEVEMENT: 100%]

» RESULT 5: Obtain a 100% biodegradable thermoplastic film of PLA made of bakery waste only or in combination with suitable additives (plasticisers, natural antioxidants…) [ACHIEVEMENT: 100%]

» RESULT 6: Increase the value of bakery waste in at least 15%. [ACHIEVEMENT: 100%]

» RESULT 7: Minimize food prices fluctuation, as a result of using non-edible waste as raw material in LA production as an alternative to current human food (starch, sugar, proteins…). [ACHIEVEMENT: 100%]

» RESULT 8: Replace the current plastic film of 25.000 tonnes coming from non-renewable resources, with the resulting decrease of environmental impact to be employed in the packaging of bakery products. [ACHIEVEMENT: 100%]

» RESULT 9: Avoid the placement in landfills of at least 5% of the 3.5 M tons of bakery waste yearly generated in Europe, avoiding the emission of combustion gases and the use of energy that are spent nowadays in the management process of such waste. [ACHIEVEMENT: 100%]

Presentation of the latest results of the BREAD4PLA Project in the V International Seminar Biopolymers and Sustainable Composites, March 6th 2014 » DOWNLOAD PDF