On the 1st of November 2020 TOMAPAINT GA 101009114 project officially started. The project has received funding from the European Union’s EIC Accelerator Horizon 2020 Green Deal research and innovation programme.
The objective of the EIC project is the realization of a continuous industrial plant for cutin extraction from tomato peels. The market entry application is a cutin-based biolacquer for application on the surfaces of metal food cans, as a natural, safe and sustainable coating.
Tomapaint’s technology is based on almost 10 years of research, as part of the European projects: BIOCOPAC, LIFEBiocopacPlus (coordinated by SSICA) and Agrimax. The technology is the subject of a national and international patent.
The starting point is an optimized pilot plant, which is currently operational, with a capacity of 12t per annum of cutin; it works in batch, thereby limiting its production. The total time to complete a cycle of production is high, non-competitive and the process is not automated.
Thanks to EIC fund Tomapaint will be able to go on the market through the achievement of the following objectives:
- Construction of the industrial plant: Tomapaint will design and build an industrial plant with an initial capacity of 200t per annum, that can be scaled up to 500t per annum in 2024 and 1500t per annum in 2029.
- Cutin bioresin production: Tomapaint will optimize the cutin extraction process to obtain a bioresin with suitable, safe and standard characteristics. A system of packaging and transport of the bioresin will be developed.
- Bioresin applications: the technology of the bioresin extraction will be validated and demonstrated to use the bioresin cutin derived compounds for packaging materials applications in industrial environments considering large scale requirements.
Moreover, the evaluation of the use of cutin in other industrial sectors (wood coatings, plastic substrates, homecare and cosmetics) will be done during the project through a Centre of Excellence for further R&D located at the plant. Some trials are in progress, that need more work to be confirmed, in collaboration with Italian and European companies that already have shown interest in Tomapaint product.
- New Value Chain: the project will allow to realize a new value chain in the field of the circular economy. Thanks to EIC fund it will be created new jobs highly specialized in the bioeconomy sector.