WAGENINGEN, the Netherlands – The European Union has commissioned Wageningen University and Research center (Wageningen UR) Food & Biobased Research (FBR) institute to perform pre-normative research into standards for biobased products. Using laboratory research and its knowledge and experience with biobased products, FBR and project coordinator NEN are looking into the demand for specific labeling for and consumer information on biobased products. The project includes a total of 14 European research institutes and companies. FBR is performing specific research into quality requirements for biobased products based on laboratory tests into specific functional characteristics such as strength, flexibility, permeability, recyclability and organic degradability.

The research is a follow-up to the KBBPPS project, in which FBR also made a major contribution. In this new project, the analytical methods developed in KBBPPS to determine the biobased content are being supplemented with indirect methods; for instance, specific measurements serve to check the administrative proof of the biobased origin of products. In addition, test methods for determining the degradability of bio-lubricants in soil and water are supplemented with other biodegradability tests. The standard test methods that will be developed focus, among other characteristics, on the degree in which a product degrades in the ocean, its compostability and the possibilities for conversion into biogas (anaerobic digestion). This allows biobased products to be compared to other products with regard to sustainability and also enables policy development.

Communication on the characteristics and applications of biobased products is another key goal of the project, with a goalto develop guidelines for labeling biobased products as well as the product information to be provided with these products. Research is being performed in eight European member states regarding the acceptance of biobased products and demands for communication involving biobased products. The results should lead to standards and policy regulations at a European level.

The project involves various knowledge and research institutes, such as the ECN, FBR and LEI in the Netherlands, the French CNRS, the German nova-Institut, and the universities of Athens, Berlin, and York. Additionally, the project consortium comprises various companies from Europe and further afield. With this wide range of partners, Open-Bio aims to realize a global alignment of test methods and standards. To support this goal, various stakeholder workshops will be organized in the coming years.