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Proyecto de investigación

Desarrollo de Materiales Superabsorbentes Innovadores, Sostenibles y de Valor Añadido a partir de Biorresiduos

Responsable: Antonio Guerrero Conejo / Carlos Bengoechea Ruiz
Tipo de Proyecto/Ayuda: Plan Estatal 2017-2020 Retos - Proyectos I+D+i
Referencia: RTI2018-097100-B-C21
Fecha de Inicio: 01-01-2019
Fecha de Finalización: 30-09-2022

Empresa/Organismo financiador/es:

  • Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades


  • Universidad del País Vasco - Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (Maria Coro de la Cabaciriza)



Resumen del proyecto:

The objective of this subproject is the development of biopolymer-based superabsorbent materials from natural resources (e.g. proteins, polysaccharides), which will be obtained from biowastes. The success of this proposal will result in the valorisation of these biowastes that are commonly used in low-value applications, discarded in landfills, or incinerated. The main challenge of the proposal comes from the increasing need of producing biodegradable plastics that could represent an attractive alternative to those obtained from synthetic polymers (e.g. acrylic derivatives), reducing consequently the use of non-renewable raw materials. This objective involves two interdependent key factors: (i) the selection of proper raw materials, considering composition, costs and environmental issues and (ii) the selection of processing techniques to obtain biodegradable polymeric matrices with maximised water uptake capacity that enable their use for hygienic and personal care applications.

Biowastes to consider in the project will be obtained from the local regions, including rice bran, brewer’s spent grain, biomass from slaughterhouse. Moreover, chicken feathers can also be used to obtain keratin, whereas fish or pork skin and bones can be used to obtain gelatin. All of them represent natural resources that can be used to obtain different protein concentrates. As for processing techniques, some well-stablished techniques commonly used in the plastic industry can be applied (e.g. injection moulding). However, the subproject will put special attention onto other less widespread techniques that can meet some particularly interesting features for the development of added value superabsorbent products (e.g. electrospinning or phase separation after hydrogel formation). The project will comprehend the characterization of raw materials extracted from biowastes, the modification of the selected biopolymers in order to promote their hydrophilic character, and the optimisation of the processing technology required to obtain novel and sustainable superabsorbent matrices. The mentioned modification will include functionalisation and/or crosslinking through novel and more sustainable techniques. The bio-products obtained will be characterized along the different stages, being the main characteristics to consider for these superabsorbent matrices: high specific surface area and porosity, high water absorption capacity and swelling, high water holding capacity, adequate mechanical resistance and good biodegradability rate. The potential environmental benefits will be determined during the whole life cycle of the product. In the frame of the Horizon 2020 Program, the proposed research is related to the societal challenge "Climate change, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials" and it is also very closely related the goal defined for a sustainable development in order to assure well-being and healthy lives.

Vicerrectorado de Investigación. Universidad de Sevilla. Pabellón de Brasil. Paseo de las Delicias s/n. Sevilla