Menu Close

Interview with Yannick Matt

1.Can you elaborate on BASF’s role in synthesizing polyesters as outlined in work package? Specifically, how does BASF plan to utilize the monomer toolbox, including FDCA and other bio-based monomers, to produce novel aliphatic-aromatic polyesters?

As BASF, our role in the ReBIOlution EU project is to leverage our long-standing expertise in polyester synthesis, to develop novel, 100% bio-based and biodegradable aliphatic-aromatic polyesters. The ReBIOlution project aims to combine our knowledge on bio-based and biodegradable polyesters and blends, namely our ecoflex® and ecovio® product lines. Our approach involves utilizing a monomer toolbox that includes 2,5-furanedicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which is derived from renewable feedstocks, as well as other suitable bio-based diols and aliphatic diacids. By combining these monomers in different ratios and with different polycondensation techniques, we aim to create a range of polyesters with varying properties, including biodegradability and the desired mechanical properties. In addition, we utilize a design of experiment (DoE) approach to speed up the development process and to build up a predictive model. Our goal is to develop sustainable alternatives to traditional petro-based polyesters that can be used in a wide range of applications, from mulch foils to food packaging.

2. In the process of scaling up polyester production to pilot-scale volumes, what challenges does BASF anticipate encountering, and how does the company plan to address them? Additionally, could you discuss how the feedback loop with other work packages, particularly from environmental and economic assessments, influences BASF’s scaling-up process?

When scaling up polyester production to pilot-scale volume, we mainly anticipate challenges in optimizing the production process to ensure a reliable quality of polyester product. BASF plans to address these challenges by scaling up the reaction in several intermediate steps to gradually increase the batch size, while conducting thorough analysis of the resulting polyesters.

BASF actively engages with other work packages to align the scaling-up process with our project goals. Therefore, the feedback loop with the other work packages like biodegradation analysis and life-cycle assessment (LCA), starts even earlier than with the scale-up process.

3. BASF leads the task of polyester blending in collaboration with other partners like SE. Could you provide insights into how BASF plans to blend polyesters with bio-based and biodegradable components to achieve desired material properties? How does predictive modeling play a role in this blending process?

Regarding the blend process, BASF has extensive knowledge from our existing ecovio® product range. Therefore, we know which blend components, ratios, and techniques are required to achieve the desired product quality, based on the properties of the polyester. We are convinced that this experience enables us to quickly develop blends of the new polyesters with components such as polylactide (PLA) or starch. Predictive Modeling can then play the same role it has already played in the development of the polyester itself: helping us identify the right blend partners, speeding up the process, and finding the correct ratios for the blending process.

4. As BASF is responsible for identifying the best monomers and polyester candidates based on predictive modeling, how does the company ensure the accuracy and reliability of these models in guiding material design? Furthermore, could you discuss any potential applications beyond paper coating and agricultural films that may arise from this predictive modeling approach?

BASF ensures the accuracy and reliability of predictive models by using experimental datasets for the establishment of the model. The dataset is separated into data which is used to build up the model and the other part of the dataset is used to validate the model. New generated data can be used to train the model. This approach allows for continuous validation and refinement of the models. Predictive modelling enables BASF to identify lead candidate polyester structure from a wide range of monomer and polyester combinations. In the ReBIOlution project the goal is to develop biobased and biodegradable materials for packaging and agriculture films. Applications beyond this area are not in the focus of the project but the predictive approach can be applied in any application field if there is a suitable dataset available.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *