Visors made from hangers, scooters with wood and carbon laminates, new cosmetic containers, differentiated furniture, recycled Adolfo Dominguez hangers, injected parts for vehicles, green carbon fibre, construction structures, crafts, and underwater rifles. These are examples of the thirty materials now created in Northern Portugal and Galicia with waste from the primary sector.
This is the project Valornature – Center of Excellence in Sustainable Materials in the Euro-Region and is led by PIEP – Polymer Engineering Innovation Centre at the University of Minho, in partnership with the Galician Forestry Industry Agency and the Automobile Technological Center of the Galicia. The initiative had 2.3 million euros from Interreg, bringing together since 2018 more than 50 entities to value agroforestry, marine, extractive by-products in key areas of the economy, such as automobile, aviation, naval, construction, and sports.
This center of excellence initially assessed the potential of the endogenous resources of northwest Iberia. 12 residues, in particular, were characterized, such as broom biomass, toxo, vine, olive, kiwi, mussel shell, stone dust, and industrial residues, and then developed over 30 sustainable materials, a fiber prototype of green carbon, and 25 technological demonstrators, in partnership with several companies from the Northern Euroregion of Portugal and Galicia. The results have now been released in Santiago de Compostela.
“Valornature is a true ecosystem of innovation and technology transfer, capable of promoting research of excellence based on models of circular economy and industrial symbiosis, throughout the Euroregion and, thus, increase the levels of industrial competitiveness, reduce the unemployment rate and affirm the resilience of this territory with more than 6.4 million inhabitants”, says project director Bruno Pereira da Silva.
PIEP was born in 2000, in Guimarães, on the initiative of the industry and in close connection with UMinho and IAPMEI. It responds to the R&D needs of companies from different sectors, supporting training and the creation of innovative products, technologies, and tools. It has made innovations such as a space capsule, a smart suitcase, a tough biopolymer, and high-speed solutions.
More on the Valornature project