Year/Course: 2017-2018, Lent 2018

Contact: Elena Loche
More information:
Mentor: Dr. Jessica Ocampos

Elena Loche and her team members from Ecuador, Sweden and New Zealand were the winners of the Gap Summit competition 2017 with their idea of using the waste biomass from citric acid production to produce a biodegradable biopolymer to be used as a replacement for common packaging materials.

They have carried out initial feasibility studies on the idea, and are now moving ahead with developing and refining the production of the biopolymer.

The challenge is to make sure that the technical solution they develop matches the market needs and is produced in a way that makes it easy for the market to adopt. This is where the i-Team comes in!

The i-Team will work closely with the Gap Summit team to investigate several different questions, including:

  • What are the best sources of the waste biomass that they plan to use?
  • In what form should the biopolymer be produced to make it easy for industry to adopt?
  • What are the key benefits of the new biopolymer that would make it attractive for manufacturers to use?
  • How should they best market the process and the biopolymer to encourage its widespread use, replacing non-biodegradable materials?

This will be done by locating and interviewing a range of relevant experts from various industries, including industries which have relevant waste biomass, and the potential users of the resulting biopolymer material.