THE CONTEXT

The leather Industry is an high water and chemical consumption Industry. The chemicals normally used in the leather manufacturing are based on petrochemical chemistry, due to the easy fossil raw materials availability and to their chemical stability.

Almost 31% of the volume of the Chemicals used by the European leather Industry are Hazardous Substances: 62% of those are used in Italy.

THE SOLUTION

Identify a new class of Non Hazardous and Environmental Friendly Products in order to reduce water consumption and effluents pollutants.

Use renewable substances to produce alternative and ecological chemicals.

PROJECT

LIFE BIOPOL is a project co-financed by European Union as part of the LIFE 2014-2020 program.

LIFE BIOPOL purpose is to develop safe and eco-friendly leather auxiliaries based on Biopolymers. The main target is to re-use hydrolyzed animal and vegetable by-products modifying these secondary resources into raw material for the production of biopolymers with very high tanning, re-tanning and fat liquoring characteristics, as alternative products to the current chemicals based on the fossil chemistry.

OBJECTIVES

  • Design and build up an Industrial Prototype Plant able to produce Green chemicals
  • Produce Bio-Polymers using as raw materials some industrial by-products from agro-chemical and leather industries.
  • Enhance re-using of biomasses and by-products otherwise disposed in landfill or incinerated.
  • Prove that the new green chemicals have same or better quality performances than petrochemical agents through the application in leather making process.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Produce Biopolymers in order to reduce:

  • 20-30% COD.
  • 50-60% of inorganic salts.
  • 90%  Cr(III) salts.
  • 20% of water used in the leather process.

Other important results will be expected as:

  • Reduction of 70-90% of hazardous substances normally found in conventional chemicals.
  • Reactivity enhancement of 30-40% of the new biopolymers compared to the current leather application technology.
  • Reduction of 70-80% of the Product Environmental Footprint of the new biopolymers related to the state of the art.