Albert Shigabutdinov: ''It is important for us to start a noble path in the field of 'green' chemistry''

TAIF and Bio-on have signed a project to build a plant for the production of biopolymer

Russian-Italian relations have been developed in the field of biodegradable plastic: a plant for the production of this polymer is going to be built in Tatarstan in the coming years. The agreement on joint implementation of the project was signed by TAIF PSC and the Italian company Bio-on S.p.A in Moscow in the framework of bilateral Russian-Italian meetings in the presence of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte. Read the details of the agreement in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Bioplastics will be used in advanced high-performance market segments

The agreement signed on October 24 by the management of TAIF PSC and Bio-On company will allow to launch the first Russian plant for the production of biopolymers in Tatarstan. The initial production capacity of the enterprise will be 10,000 tonnes a year, it is planned to expand the capacity to 20,000 tonnes. The cost of the project is estimated at about 90 million euros.

''Biodegradable polymers can effectively contribute to the gradual reduction of environmental pollution,'' Albert Shigabutdinov noted

''It is important for us to start a noble path in the field of 'green' chemistry,'' said after the signing Director General of TAIF PSC Albert Shigabutdinov. ''We believe that biodegradable polymers can effectively contribute to the gradual reduction of environmental pollution. In the short term, biopolymers cannot completely replace traditional polymers because of production volumes, but we believe that the introduction of 'green', that is, environmentally friendly production in high-performance market segments, can create new opportunities in the plastics sector.''

Marco Astorri, President and CEO of Bio-on, said that the agreement with TAIF is an important milestone for the company. ''The signing of the first contract with the prestigious industrial group, which is the leader in the plastics industry, confirms the great value of our technology and further strengthens the position of bioplastics in the market, which today is the only real alternative to solve the environmental problem caused by traditional plastics,'' said Marco Astorri.

''The signing of the first contract with the prestigious industrial group confirms the great value of our technology,'' said Marco Astorri. Photo:

Now bioplastic is produced in Italy and the United States, in Russia there are no such production facilities. The technology is simple, but there are difficulties in its industrial implementation, so when choosing a partner in Russia, the Italians, without hesitation, proposed the idea to TAIF Group, which has extensive experience in the implementation of complex units. It is planned that bioplastic will be used both in traditional areas and in advanced high-performance market segments.

Technological properties of bioplastic are close to polyethylene and polypropylene

The signing of the agreement was preceded by negotiations that lasted six months and ended with the presentation of the project of the construction of a plant for the production of biodegradable plastic to President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov during his working trip to Italy. In the building of the government Palazzo Lombardy in Milan, the head of the republic was told that the production of bioplastics — polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) — requires natural products derived from agricultural waste, namely molasses (the by-product of sugar production from sugar beet – editor's note).

In Italy, Rustam Minnikhanov was presented the project of construction of a plant for the production of bioplastics. Photo:

The project of bioplastic received a positive response from the leadership of the republic. After the presentation, Rustam Minnikhanov called the biopolymer a promising direction and promised to provide support from the Republic of Tatarstan in case if TAIF decides to undertake the project.

The idea of bioplastics is not new: it was discovered 100 years ago, but that time it was unclaimed. Plastic, obtained from natural raw materials, completely dissolves in the soil. ''A product made of conventional plastic decomposes for 200,000 years, but bioplastics is a natural material, so other bacteria eat it, as if it was wood. Of course, in order for decomposition to occur, the product must be placed in the soil,'' explained general manager at Bio-on Vittorio Folla during the presentation in Milan.

''Bioplastics is a natural material, so other bacteria eat it, as if it was wood,'' explained Vittorio Folla, general manager at Bio-on. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

The main component of the polymer production is bacteria of natural origin. The raw material source is also a natural product, in this case — the by-product of the production of sugar beet molasses. Also, starch, glycerin, sugar cane and other sources containing sugar can be also used as raw materials. In the production of biopolymers in Tatarstan they plan to use the by-product of sugar beet — molasses.

The new polymer is able to solve the problem of environmental pollution with synthetic plastic. The production of polymers in the world for 70-80 years of development has increased hundreds of times. If the rate of the production of synthetic plastics remains the same, by 2050 their number will be equal to the number of fish in the World Ocean.

The polymer, which TAIF offers to produce, is interesting because it completely decomposes within 30-45 days. At the same time, bioplastics has technical and technological properties close to conventional plastics — polyethylene and polypropylene. The advantage of bioplastics is that metals, catalysts and additives are not used in its production. Thus, bioplastics does not have harmful effects on animals, humans and other organisms.

Cooperation with Pirelli

The cooperation agreement was signed by Deputy Director General — Commercial Director of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Timur Shigabutdinov and Vice President of Marketing at Pirelli Matteo Battaini

It should be noted that Italian companies have long closely cooperated with TAIF. In particular, the tire concern Pirelli is one of the main buyers of synthetic rubber of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC for the production of tires. At the end of last year in Milan in Pirelli Castle, the companies signed an agreement on further cooperation. The document involves the supply of synthetic rubber to Pirelli company for five years.

By Ekaterina Gumarova

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According to the customs administration for the Volga Federal District, the trade turnover between Tatarstan and Italy in 2017 increased significantly — by 23,4% to 323,3 million dollars. Export from Tatarstan reached 164,6 million dollars, and imports from Italy to the republic – 158,6 million dollars.

For the period from January to February 2018, the trade turnover between Tatarstan and Italy amounted to about 20,6 million dollars against 17,2 million dollars for the same period last year. The main trade turnover is still accounted for equipment and machinery, the second place is taken by plastics and rubbers.

In 2017, the main trade partners of the Republic of Tatarstan were 154 countries, export operations were carried out with 127 countries, import one — with 115 countries. The share of exports to Italy compared with other countries amounted to 1,3%, the share of imports — 4,1%.