• Silvex, Indústria de Plásticos e Papéis, SA (SVX) – Portugal – Founded in 1968, it started its activities by importing and marketing labelling machines for adhesive film, aluminium and labels for the first major shopping areas in Portugal.
It quickly evolved, by becoming an industrial company, while diversifying its business areas.
With 100% Portuguese capital, it has a plant in Benavente, with over 200 employees, 13 of which are disabled individuals. Given the direct and indirect employment generated, this is one of the largest employers in the Municipality of Santarém.
This market leader in distribution brands is involved in several market segments, as it competes with several world-renowned multinational companies operating in Portugal.
From a technical standpoint, Silvex will contribute with its knowledge of tasks associated with the production of innovative biodegradable mulch films. It coordinates the project, while being responsible for the exploitation and disclosure of results.
• Biobag International AS (BB) – Norway – Current world leader in the manufacture of 100% biodegradable and 100% compostable plastics, using the Mater-Bi raw material. All of its products are based on starch free of genetically-modified organisms (GMO), biodegradable polymers and other renewable resources, as its production process does not resort to any polyethylene whatsoever. The company seeks to raise users’ awareness to choosing more environmentally-friendly products. In this context, BioBag has gained considerable experience in working with biodegradable plastics, while concerning itself with developing new applications in biodegradable and compostable materials.
In its capacity as a specialist in biodegradable plastics, BioBag will manage the project’s technical aspects, with particular emphasis on those associated with the characteristics of plastics, while closely monitoring the evaluations carried out on testing as well as taking part in the optimisation of new formulations.
• ICS Environnement (ICSE) – France – A company associated with BioBag, exclusively devoted to the marketing of 100% biodegradable and 100% compostable plastics. Its role in the project includes closely monitoring research work carried out on vines in France.
• Instituto Superior de Agronomia da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (ISA) [Agricultural Institute for Higher Education of the Lisbon Technical University] – Portugal - The Agricultural Institute for Higher Education is the largest and most highly-qualified graduate and post-graduate school in Agriculture, as its know-how is nationally and internationally renowned. With 156 years of experience, it adapts its teaching to the technological evolution and to the Portuguese reality, by placing emphasis on its quality and modernisation. A part of Lisbon Technical University since 1930, it has approximately 1500 students in the 3 cycles of education, a staff of 136 Professors and 20 Researchers, 149 of whom hold a PhD.
The ISA team will be working in close cooperation with other Universities and Research Centres (UCI), to define indicators and needs, to develop common methodologies to be applied in Portugal, Spain and France, and to evaluate the performance of new films. It ensures the monitoring of the field testing of three different cultures (melon, pepper and strawberry) in Portugal. It is also responsible for analysing the soil, the quality of the fruit and the ecotoxicity and compostability of biodegradable plastics.
• Centro Tecnológico de la Agroindustria (ADESVA) [Technological Centre for Agro-industry] – Spain – An association for the development of the production system linked to agriculture in the Spanish province of Huelva. This is a non-profit organisation that brings together the most representative companies in the agro-industrial and auxiliary services sector for new agriculture in Huelva. It is mainly aimed at promoting a collective revitalisation process suitable for improving the competitive position of associated companies and the expansion of productive activities offering business opportunities. It performs interface work for research organisations, in the quest for technological solutions to the companies' needs, by transferring state-of-the-art technology to the sector.
ADESVA has an experimental station with modern facilities (laboratories, greenhouses, testing fields), as well as researchers and technicians with a vast experience. The experimental station specialises in strawberries (the region of Huelva is the world’s second largest grower of this fruit), mulberries and pomegranates. It shall be responsible for conducting field tests on strawberries, both at its facilities and at the Spanish end-user.
• Unité Mixte de Recherches Ingénierie des Agropolymères et Technologies Emergentes (IATE) – France – A research group constituted by the Université Montpellier II, the INRA (Institut National de Recherche Agronomique), the ENSAM (Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique) and the CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale pour le Dévelopement).
It is responsible for implementing field tests (vines) in France, in close cooperation with SERPBIO (Services Études Recherches Polymères Biodégradables). It shall provide a significant technical contribution in the design of new biodegradable mulch film, by applying its specialised skills to the science of biodegradable materials and polymers.
• Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University (AU-DJF) – Denmark – Conducts research on a wide range of materials linked to agriculture and food production. Its departments of Agroecology and Environment and Horticulture are involved in this project. Its main activities are related to climate, natural resources and aquatic environment, with particular emphasis on the impact of agricultural production systems.
AU-DJF shall be responsible for conducting life cycle analysis (LCA) and for contributing towards an overall assessment of the researched technology.
Hortofruticolas Campelos, SASA – Portugal – An organisation of producers recognised parting the scope of (EC) Regulations 2200/96 and 1234/2007, of the Council. Made up by 51 fruit and vegetable growers operating a total of 1800 hectares. Committed to promoting sustainable practices, with economic and environmental feasibility.
Field tests will be set up on lands belonging to associated growers. In the two years the project will last, 2 growth cycles will be achieved in the following cultures: melon, pepper and strawberry.
Explotaciones Agrarias Garrido Mora CCB – Spain – Agricultural producer located in the region de Huelva, growing 5,5ha of strawberries entirely exported to France. Currently undergoing the process of EUREPGAP certification.
Its property will comprise the strawberry testing field, which will also be the subject of study over two cycles.
Olivier Madeville, Domaine de Vaissière – France – Domaine de Vaissière is a 300-ha wine-growing operation located in the region of Languedoc-Roussilon. It produces 25.000 hl of wine annually, normally marketed wholesale.
The testing of mulch film with biodegradable plastic will be set up on a vine to be planted in Blomac, owned by Olivier Mandeville.
A group of observers will be set up, comprising representatives of end-users and environmental lawmakers, with particular interest in the project, but who will not directly take part in the work to be carried out by the consortium.
While the main objective of these observers is to monitor the project, they will also play an important role in the disclosure of the results.
Some of the organisations invited to this group include:
A private, non-profit association representing the fruit- and vegetable-growing sector. It seeks to promote greater closeness between companies and research, as well as between public and private bodies. It currently comprises 57 members, including research centres, local authorities, individual growers and large agricultural companies.
An agency for innovation and development in the province of Andalusia. It executes policies for the promotion of the economic and social development of the regional government of Andalusia.
An association of strawberry growers and merchants from the region of Huelva.
The consortium will benefit from the technical support from a guest scientific consultant. Sara Guerrini, from Novamont, a renowned researcher, specialised in biodegradable raw material, will be the project’s scientific consultant.