Understanding phase behaviour in plant proteins for large scale production of films and microcapsules - ScalePlantProt
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No.101023947.
Understanding plant proteins' phase behaviour for bio-based polymeric materials
The large-scale production of plant protein-based plastic alternatives is currently hampered by a lack of detailed understanding of the phase behaviour of plant proteins. The EU-funded ScalePlantProt project will investigate, for the first time, the key phase transition of plant proteins – thermal phase transition and phase separation. The aim is to unite traditional polymer science regarding phase transition and molecular understanding of proteins. The initiative’s findings will enable the development of two primary products for sustainable plastic replacement, i.e. microcapsules and thermoplastic flexible films. The materials obtained can be manufactured using conventional industrial platforms for polymer processing, making them competitive with bio-based polymeric materials currently on the market, or even synthetic plastic materials, and boosting the European green-material market.
Drawing on the expertise from the Experienced Researcher, this MSCA application aims to significantly advance the understanding of phase behaviour in plant proteins, to enable development of two primary products for sustainable plastic replacement, microcapsules and thermoplastic flexible films. Currently, large-scale production of plant protein based plastic alternatives is hampered by a lack of advanced knowledge of the phase behaviour of plant proteins. This research programme thus aims to for the first time systematically investigate the key phase transition of plant proteins — thermal phase transition and phase separation. This objective will be achieved by uniting two sets of skills: i) the Experienced Researcher’s expertise in plant protein self-assembly and ii) specialized knowledge of chemists, engineers and business management at Xampla Ltd for the commercially successful application of plant protein materials. The breakthrough aspect will be uniting traditional polymer science regarding phase transition and molecular understanding of proteins – the obtained materials can be manufactured using established industrial platform used for polymer processing. The approach thus makes the products competitive with current bio-based polymeric materials in market, or even synthetic plastic materials. Therefore, the research program will boost the European green-material market and addresses the Horizon 2020 societal and economic challenges.