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Start the SUR3D project to develop a biodegradable material with recycled corks

INNOVI, the Advanced Materials Cluster of Catalonia (MAV Cluster), the Eurecat technology center, OIMO Bioplastics and the Fundació Institut Català del Suro (ICSURO) have launched the SUR3D project which will allow the development of a biodegradable material with recycled corks for 3D printing.

This is a project approved by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (MINCOTUR) in the last call for Innovative Business Groups (AEI) in July. The initiative was finally approved on November 23.

The project has a budget of 173,458 euros and will be developed until April 2023. The grant awarded by MINCOTUR amounts to 125,266 euros.

The main objective of this collaborative work is to use corks to obtain a new composite with a biodegradable polymer suitable for additive manufacturing with extrusion technologies.

In this way, it is intended to promote the recycling of corks within the framework of circular economy strategies. With the generation of this new material, it is also sought to promote the substitution of plastic products of fossil origin in favor of bioplastics of renewable origin.

The SUR3D project opens up the possibility of introducing used corks into the market as a new material with added value. So, the project will contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the cork and wine sector itself, as a residue has been identified and work is being done to turn it into a new product.

The project will consist of characterizing and preparing both the corks used and the biodegradable polymeric matrix so that both are suitable for the manufacture of the new materials.

During the work, printability tests will be carried out with the resulting new materials, with which test tubes will also be manufactured. The project aims to establish the foundations for the future development of certain applications, as well as the construction of prototypes and demonstrators of tools, objects, structures or other elements for the wine sector and other sectors with high added value.

Functions and roles of the participants

The project is coordinated by INNOVATE, an association registered as Agrupació d'Empreses Innovadores that was created in February 2009 and has 70 organizations in the wine value chain and auxiliary sectors. INNOVI will be in charge of managing the relationship between the different partners and overseeing the whole process, as well as disseminating the results so that the rest of the agents in the wine sector can benefit from them.

The technology center Eurecat, specialized in applied R&D and technological services in the digital, industrial, biotechnological and sustainability areas, will be responsible for determining the specifications of the materials, developing the compound for additive manufacturing, and determining the printability of the new material and to manufacture the test tubes.

I HEAR is an ecodesign and new materials startup whose mission is to provide the industry with the tools it needs to be more sustainable. The company aims to reduce 12 million tons of plastic that would end up in the ocean every year. In this project, OIMO will develop a new bioplastic formulation suitable for 3D printing based on cork fibers obtained from corks collected post-consumer.

theCatalan Institute of Cork is a non-profit and scientific foundation whose mission is to promote the cork sector. As the main research center that works with the cork industry, ICSuro will be in charge of ensuring the quality of the different cork materials to be used.

The Advanced Materials Cluster of Catalonia is a technology-based cluster based on an innovation and R&D strategy with industrial applicability for obtaining materials of high added value, as well as for implementation in manufacturing and transformation processes. The MAV Cluster has taken responsibility for creating synergies between the partners that have given rise to this proposal. During the development of the project, you will support the management, coordination and dissemination of the project.