B4 Demonstration Pilot in Horticulture Accessories Sector

Action B4 will demonstrate the feasibility of using the recovered fibres from hop waste residues in reinforced PLA composite materials, intended for injection moulding application in horticulture production sector. To this end, TECOS will produce the injected planting pots with the new tailored composite material developed and supplied by TECNO, that is based on biodegradable PLA matrices and re-engineered hop fibres (produced by Zelfo Technology), recovered and modified by ZELFO Technology. The resulting demonstrators will be validated for the cultivation of hops seedlings by IHPS in the first trimester of 2022.

TECNO will prepare the composites for the injection moulding process from hop biomass after the harvesting process. The first step is the adaptation of the composite formulations to the processing conditions considering different percentages of hop fiber and PLA included in the blend using an extrusion-compounding machine. The Action involves also the production of demonstrative plating pots (2,000 demos) for IHPS’s hop plant seedling, made of newly developed 100% biodegradable composite material produced by TECNO, on a small-series pilot production line located at TECOS’ facilities. IHPS’s yearly consumption of planting pots for hop seedling purposes exceeds the 200.000 pcs, thus the importance of introducing green alternative materials for such purposes is exceptionally high. The implementation action’s sequence includes the part design, tooling production, part production, validation and end-of-life testing (compostability and recyclability assessment).

There will be two deliverables produced in this Action, which will be published in the Deliverables section:

  • B4.D1 Report on optimal formulation of hop waste fibre reinforced PLA for injection moulding
  • B4.D2 Report on planting pot demonstrators for horticulture applications