Cellulose Valley wants to create new cellulose packaging

Cellulose Valley wants to create new cellulose packaging

A new teaching and research chair was launched at the beginning of the year with multiple manufacturers with the aim of creating high performance materials for the packaging industry.

At the start of the year, the Grenoble INP Foundation launched a new teaching and research chair called Cellulose Valley in partnership with five manufacturers. The goal? To design new recyclable, biodegradable, sourced and high performance cellulose-based materials for the packaging industry while speeding up the development of single-use plastic alternatives. For a year, and even more so since the introduction of the AGEC law aimed at reducing plastic usage, a new trend has emerged and this is where Cellulose Valley (the name is a nod to the historic ecosystem of the Isère city linked to cellulose and paper) aims to focus its efforts – replacing plastic with paper cardboard.

“The objective is to develop new packaging from cellulose, with some possibly representing plastic alternatives. We already have plans to finance two theses, a post‐doctorate and around twenty Masters internships”, said Julien Bras, Cellulose Valley chair holder, teacher at Grenoble INP ‐ Pagora and researcher at the Laboratoire Génie des Processes Papetiers (LGP2 ). Julien Bras knows what he is talking about. A graduate of ENSIACET, a chemical engineering school in Toulouse, he wrote a thesis in collaboration with Ahlstrom. The theme? Developing new bio-sourced packaging from parchment paper and cellulosic derivatives. Then, in addition to his research, he has accumulated prizes and distinctions.

The chair is hosted by Grenoble INP – Pagora UGA, international school of paper, printed communication and bio-materials, and LGP2. Within an initial period of four years, it benefits from the support of DS Smith Packaging France (manufacturer of sustainable packaging solutions), Ahlstrom Munksjö (non wovens and speciality papers), Alphaform Groupe Guillin (moulded cellulose), and Citeo (company with a mission that works to reduce the environmental impact of packaging and paper.”

With regards to the research component, the chair will focus on obtaining new materials based on cellulose, and therefore bio-sourced. The aim is to be recyclable and biodegradable. These new materials will provide the mechanical properties and barriers needed in the field of packaging. In this way, Cellulose Valley will contribute to the environmental transition by providing a solution to companies looking for more sustainable packaging alternatives.

The chair contributes to packaging’s environmental transition. It will also make it possible to increase and consolidate the level of excellence among partner companies and Grenoble INP – UGA by organising a structured activity of reflection and research of an international dimension around this topic.

Another commitment made by the Industrial Excellence Chair is training, by developing educational and academic resources for engineering students with quick access to research results. Cellulose Valley will also promote exchanges and discussions on cellulose and its use between partner companies, engineering students, doctoral students and Masters students from Grenoble INP.

Its programme aims to develop actions around promoting cellulose, in particular in the field of packaging and its entire value chain. The Grenoble INP Foundation already has 11 industrial excellence, research and teaching chairs.

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