Construction has begun near Bologna for the production unit. The facility is set to be completed by the end of this year and begin production early in 2018, thanks to a EUR 15 million investment, according to the company.
The unit will produce Minerv Bio Cosmetics, a 100% bioplastic that the company says is set to replace microbeads in cosmetics, contentious because of their polluting nature for marine life. Microbeads are now prohibited in many countries.
Bio-on describes the facility as a ‘sustainable project’, with it being constructed via a conversion of a former factory in Castel San Pietro Terme, meaning no new land is occupied or wasted.
Bio-on states that its Minerv Bio Cosmetics are intended as replacement for the traditional oil-based microbeads, as the new substance - a linear polyester, naturally occurring as a result of bacterial fermentation of sugar - is 100% biodegradable.
All the PHAs bioplastics (polyhydroxyalkanoates) developed by Bio-on are made from renewable plant sources with no competition with food supply chains, the company states.
They guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties as conventional plastics with the advantage of being 100% eco-sustainable and naturally biodegradable at ambient temperature.
The plant has a capacity dedicated to the research into and production of 1,000 tons per year rapidly expandable to 2,000 tons per year, the company states.
The plant is equipped with the most modern technologies and the most advanced research and development laboratories. New agricultural waste carbon sources for producing biopolymers are continuously tested to increase the range of technologies offered by Bio-on.
"We are pleased because so far we have obtained the necessary authorisations to begin construction on schedule," explains Marco Astorri, Bio-on Chairman and CEO.
"We expect to keep to that set down in our Industrial Plan which takes us through to 2020. We are also extremely proud," adds Astorri, "because thanks to our technology the cosmetics sector can now take a `green` turn that millions of consumers around the world have been demanding for some time."