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UQ: Biomaterials from agricultural waste, a solution to reduce food and plastic waste - Investment and partner opportunity

Nasim Amiralian, of the Bio-Inspired Materials Group within The University of Queensland

Opportunity for

  • Investors who are passionate about sustainability, net-zero, and zero-waste initiatives.
  • Farmers and commercial partners in the agriculture, waste management, or food packaging sectors.
  • Corporate entities, retail supermarkets, that share our vision and are interested in collaboration including end-users.
    ^This opportunity is only for professional and sophisticated investors.

Opportunity description

Industry challenge

Globally, 300 million tonnes of plastics are produced annually, with 36% dedicated to packaging. Single-use plastics, which constitute 85% of packaging, are 98% fossil fuel-derived. Less than 10% of these plastics are recyclable, causing an economic loss of $80-120 billion annually.

Our innovative fibre-based packaging technology, developed from agricultural waste, addresses these issues.

Current opportunity

We are seeking support from industry partners, corporates, governments, or investors to advance our technology for scaling up in standard production facilities.

This collaboration aims to establish a thermoformable packaging facility, integrating industry standards and benchmarks for desired packaging type (e.g. punnets), focusing on mechanical properties, heat and moisture resistance, and extended shelf life of fruits and foods.

We will optimise the thermoforming parameters, temperature, pressure, and time, to enhance mechanical properties, and barrier functions like hydrophobicity by adjusting the density and composition of the packaging materials, particularly the ratios of lignin and cellulose.

Investment will support demonstrations to validate the feasibility and commercial viability of this technology. By integrating sustainability with multifunctional capabilities, our approach not only improves packaging performance but also promotes public health safety, healthy . The technology, once scaled, holds potential for industrial licensing, offering a significant advancement in eco-friendly packaging solutions.

The global fibre packaging market is projected to grow from $380.98 billion in 2023 to $537.41 billion in 10 years. Specifically, the moulded fibre packaging, which would be the initial products of this technology is projected to grow from $8.13 bn in 2023 to $12.56 bn by 2030, with 6.41% CAGR.

Our antimicrobial coating offers significant benefits beyond packaging. It can protect fresh fruits and foods, reducing the incidence of foodborne illnesses. In the medical sector, it also has the potential to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, aligning with global health safety goals and advancing public health initiatives.

The antimicrobial food packaging market, vital for reducing foodborne pathogens which cause significant illness and death annually, is expected to reach $19.7 billion by 2030. Our packaging technology not only enhances food safety but also offers substantial growth opportunities across industries by introducing self-disinfecting coatings for various surfaces.

Opportunity background

Supported by the AMP Foundation’s Tomorrow Fund, we have developed a 100% bio-based, biodegradable packaging technology, currently at TRL 3, which promises enhanced productivity and environmental sustainability in the fibre-based packaging industry.

Our materials, suitable for a wide range of packaging types, from heavy-duty to food, electronic, and cosmetic products, feature fibres with antimicrobial properties. This innovation emerged from an Advance Queensland Fellowship project and is under IP protection. The engineered antimicrobial fibres actively kill a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses that from the surfaces.

Our solution has proven additional benefits:

  1. Waste and Emission Reduction: Utilising agricultural waste reduces landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Elimination of Harmful Chemicals: Our technology skips traditional pulping and bleaching, instead treating biomass with a green solvent which is recyclable and reusable in the process.
  3. Enhanced Biodegradability: By avoiding petrochemical-based coatings, our packaging is more recyclable and compostable alongside standard paper products, improving environmental safety.
  4. No microplastic generation: our packaging materials rapidly degrades in the soil or marine environment, offering a direct solution to microplastics where their current volume is at unsustainable level.
  5. Cost-effective Manufacturing: The technology integrates easily with existing production lines without needing significant retooling, offering manufacturers efficiency and flexibility to choose from various raw materials.

    Potential other applications

This platform technology enables the use of our packaging materials across various types of fibre-moulded packaging, from food to cosmetic applications. The antimicrobial materials serve as a surface coating suitable for the food and health sectors, enhancing the shelf life of perishable fruits and vegetables. Additionally, we are focused on refining our agriculture-based antimicrobial materials as a sustainable alternative to antibiotics in animal feed. This broad applicability underlines our commitment to versatile, eco-friendly solutions in packaging and beyond.

^Professional and sophisticated investors as defined in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The content of this opportunity is intended for use by persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments and must not be acted or relied upon by any other person including, without limitation, retail clients.

Opportunity type

Seeking investment, Seeking partners

Express interest by

Thursday, 30 January 2025 22:00 Australia/Sydney


Early (TRL 1-4)
Describes the challenge or opportunity being pursued and undertakes preliminary R&D to determine if the concept is feasible.
What does this mean?
Describes the stage of the challenge or opportunity being pursued.

Opportunity led by

Multiple industries
Beef cattle Dairy Fruits Nuts Vegetables

The University of Queensland (UQ)

The University of Queensland (UQ) is one of Australia’s leading research and teaching institutions. We strive for excellence through …
  • Location

    Brisbane, Queensland

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