Italian bioplastics firm Bio-on srl has signed an agreement with Innova Imagen SA de CV to make polyhydroxyalkanoate biopolymers in Mexico.
Bologna-based Bio-on and Innova Imagen will build a PHA biopolymer plant to make those materials, with a primary focus on the textile and fashion industry, officials said in a Feb. 19 news release.
No location for the proposed plant is listed in the release. Innova Imagen is a clothing manufacturer and merchandiser based in Monterrey. The firm is a unit of sustainable clothing maker Himes LLC of Austin, Texas.
The deal gives Innova Imagen an 18-month license for Bio-on's PHA technology. Bio-on will receive 50 million euros ($56.7 million) in the deal.
“The technology developed and demonstrated at the industrial level by Bio-on is promising in the face of the global problem of contamination by plastics and its consequences on human health,” Himes co-founder Rogelio Himes said in the release.
He added that the possible development of PHA applications for the textile and fashion industry “particularly attracted our interest, because they have the potential to replace synthetic fibers such as polyester, one of the largest sources of pollution of our oceans caused by microfiber shredding.”
PHAs made at the plant will be based on feedstocks available in Mexico, including waste from agave processing. Earlier Bio-on projects have fermented sugar cane or sugar beet pulp to make PHA.
“The PHA revolution is already a reality,” Bio-on President and CEO Marco Astorri said in the release. “Those who really want to implement radically green technologies and shift towards a really sustainable production systems have no more excuses.”
Late last year, Bio-on announced plans to enter the packaging market through Zeropack SpA, a joint venture that will use bioplastics to make packaging for fruits and vegetables. Bio-on is partnering with Italian agricultural firm Gruppo Rivoira in Zeropack.