Post Term: OPEN-BIO

Standardization report on bio-based product testing

Report on functionality testing for demonstrating the functionality of novel Bio-based Products. For this research, 7 key product categories were selected for testing;

1. Packaging Films

2. Disposable cups & plates

3. WPC decking

4. Pre manufactured components/insulation

5. Mulch films

6. Adhesives and binders

7. Bio-solvents

Key mechanical properties, key chemical/thermal parameters and additional functionalities that ensure the functionality of the bio-based project over its entire product life were defined. This implies testing before and after use or before and after ageing.

Additionally, specific characteristics of the bio-based products that differ from existing petrochemical products were addressed.

In each product category commercially available bio-based products have been selected for functionality testing.

Report on the use of isotopes

This concerns the development of complete bio-based content methodologies using stable isotopes and isoscapes.

The development of automation techniques for sample preparation and investigation into isotope measurement techniques for direct bio-based content analysis are included, while the sample preparation automation methodologies need to build upon the conclusions of the
assessment from KBBPPS. The assessment includes examples of the use for bio-solvents, bio-lubricants, bio-plastics and bio-surfactants. The original idea was to prepare an overview of all stable isotopes in relation to biomass and fossil content; stable isotope measurements
together with isoscapes could thus be used in order to define sustainability of bio-based products. As that appeared to be difficult, a database for feedstocks and products, with isotopes, fingerprint and sustainability aspects seemed neither interesting for the bio-based products’ market nor presenting additional value to the already existing information publicly available. The project partners felt that it should be a good follow-up to develop a more generic report on how the isotopes could be used.

Bio-based sustainability schemes

This report identifies and explores sustainability issues relevant for bio-based products. It investigates what lessons can be learned from biomass sustainability schemes for bioenergy and biofuels and what topics not currently covered in biomass sustainability schemes (such as cascading use, ILUC and carbon storage in products) mean for bio-based products.

A methodology for the indirect assessment of the renewability of bio-based products

This document describes an indirect method for the assessment of bio-based product recirculation. The test method described in this report has been developed to improve the design features of bio-based products so that they are made of the most appropriate renewable feedstocks, and are easily and effectively treated at end-of-life. This has the potential to lessen the environmental impact of plastics and other chemical products, building materials etc.

Definitions for renewable elements and renewable molecules

Described in this report is an attempt produce definitions for renewable elements and molecules (as components of bio-based products). The purpose of these definitions is to assist the Open-BIO consortium when preparing sustainability criteria for the indirect assessments
of bio-based products. Definitions were prepared and proposed to bio-based product stakeholders as part of a consortium led workshop (Cologne, Germany), as well as to members to the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (University of York, UK), Open-BIO project partners, and delegates at the 7th International Conference on Bio-Based Materials (Cologne, Germany). After these discussions it was decided to generate a family of definitions addressing specific aspects of the recirculation of elements and molecules as they are returned to use. A single overarching definition of renewability was not seen as appropriate for use horizontally across all bio-based products and chemical articles in general.

Performance characteristics for horizontal bio-based content standard – Round robin assessment results

This report presents the results of the round robin assessment that was held in order to test the procedure proposed for determination and validation of total bio-based content. The round robin assessment was initiated in the frameworks of the European Open-Bio project (

Determination of total bio-based content is closely related to the determination of total biobased carbon content. The latter is typically represented as a fraction of 14C to the total carbon content of a product. For the determination of the total bio-based carbon content, CEN/TS 16640 shall be followed. The procedure described in CEN/TS 16640 for the biobased carbon content determination has been proven by the results of a separate round robin assessment that were presented in Deliverable 3.1 of Open-Bio. It was concluded there that the 14C analysis can be done using well known LSC (Liquid Scintillation Counting) or AMS (Accelerated Mass Spectrometry) techniques. No inconsistencies were observed for
the results of the measurements when using AMS or LSC techniques.

Evaluation of applicable techniques for the determination of the bio-based content

This report presents the comparison between different methods for the bio-based content determination. Radiocarbon method supplemented by elemental analysis (EN 16785-1) is the standardized method used for the determination of bio-based carbon content and total bio-based content. Application of EN 16785-1 to a certain product results in a fixed number for the bio-based content of the product, describing which fraction of the product originates from biomass. This report discusses a possibility to use stable isotope analysis for the determination of total bio-based content.

Publishable final report

The Open-Bio project aims at increasing the uptake speed of standards, certification systems, labels and data sheets for bio-based products. Public acceptance of bio-based products is increased through ensuring, verifying and visualizing the sustainable sourcing of raw materials, the effective bio-content, the end-of-life options and clear indication of their (comparative) functionality in relation to the regular products. These positive effects will indirectly result in faster growth of the bio-based product industry and increased share of bio-based in the total use of final (consumer) products and intermediates. The Open-bio project promotes these positive effects by facilitating the development and optimization of standards, (ecological) labels and product information databases.

This Seventh Framework Programme project commenced in November 2013. It is partially a follow-up on a pending pre-normative project (KBBPPS), which had initiated the development of standardised methods to test bio-based products for various properties. The current project took these proposed standards forward and elaborated a number of new ones, considering aspects as diverse as the determination of the total bio-based content of a product, its likely biodegradation in sea water, its compostability and the extent to which it can be recycled. Standardised methods help manufacturers to substantiate their claims about the biobased content and related properties of their products. Several of those proposed by the two successive projects have been submitted to the European Committee for Standardization
(CEN) and the International Standardization Organisation (ISO). Four have been adopted, and several more are being finalised in cooperation with these bodies.

In addition to that, it is important that all properties and applications are clearly communicated to the users of bio-based products. Open-Bio has established guidelines for ecological labelling of and for the product information supplied together with bio-based products. A socio-economical investigation towards bio-based products acceptance in six EU Member States complements the work. In the end, the result is intended to lead to standards and policy rules at European level.