Circular and Bio-based Plastics

We develop customized bio-based plastics for a variety of applications like films, fibers, filamensts, injection molded parts, and others. Our materials offer a specific, often innovative property profile that corresponds to or even exceeds that of fossil-based plastics. We cover the entire development chain from polymerization and material development to plastics processing and recycling with accompanying comprehensive material characterization.

Our bio-based plastics can be processed on conventional machines. Our many years of know-how enable us to adapt the materials optimally to the application. We attach great importance to low overall costs, good availability of raw materials, easy processing and simple recycling, and we can provide material samples on an industrial scale.


Polymer Technology

For many years, we have been working on developing and synthesizing polymers and additive systems based on renewable raw materials. These materials, such as chemically modified biopolymers like poly(lactic acid) PLA, and polyhydroxyalkanoates PHA, are being developed and tested for their use as functional additives in plastics, adhesives, and lubricants. In addition to polymer-technical considerations regarding the biological degradation of polymers, we offer many years of experience in the characterization of polymers using thermal, spectroscopic and chromatographic methods (DSC, TGA, FT-IR, TG-IR, GPC), capillary viscometry, titration as well as residue analysis (plastic-based waste). Further fields of activity are cultural heritage research, the preservation of historical items and the non-destructive testing of high-quality surfaces.

Plastics Development

We concern ourselves with the physical functionalization of biopolymers by means of blending, additives, and fiber reinforcement. Further areas of focus within research and development include reactive processing and compatibilization in the melt. We use this expertise, for example, to develop new bio-based thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPV). Our know-how in the processing and characterization of film materials, biodegradable polymers and natural fiber reinforced plastics (NFRP) is part of our portfolio. In addition, we investigate the behavior of biodegradable plastics through ageing and soil contact. We help our partners to smoothly enter the manufacture of products made of novel plastics. Satisfaction of plastics converters and their customers is our goal.

Production Scale-Up and Materials Testing

The development of new materials does not end in the laboratory, but in industrial practice. For this reason, Fraunhofer UMSICHT operates a compounding pilot plant at the Willich site, equipped with twin-screw extruders, various dosing systems, melt filters, and various pelletizing systems up to production scale. In addition, we have modern testing equipment for the comprehensive characterization of external and internal sample testing orders.

Information material of the department Circular and Bio-based Plastics

You will find the complete press releases at the respective links marked (press release).


Intermediates from industrial spent coffee grounds

Coffee grounds as a source of raw materials


Compound development based on bio-based plastics

Sustainable materials for your products



NRFPs and WPC developed with UMSICHT!


Foamed bioplastics

We have the recipe for success!



Development of durable, fully bio-based thermoplastic composites from bioplastics and pulp fibres for injection moulding applications

Degradation behavior of plastics

Everything under control!

At the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT we research and develop bio-based and biodegradable plastics

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Reference projects of the department Circular and Bio-based Plastics



New applications for bio-based plastics

PLA compound with competitive material properties for technical products: Project consortium involving industry and research is developing a sustainable alternative to crude oil-based plastics for injection molded E&E components.



Bio-based pressure-sensitive adhesives

The demand for adhesive products based on renewable raw materials is growing. Within the framework of "BioPSA", the basic formulations of bio-based hot-melt pressure-sensitive adhesives are being further developed and adapted to suit different areas of application.



Biodegradable geotextiles for bank protection

As part of the collaborative research project "Bioshoreline", novel biodegradable geotextiles are being developed from renewable raw materials for use in future-oriented, environmentally friendly bank protection on waterways.



Natural thickeners for degradable lubricants

With the development of natural thickeners and binders, it should be possible in future to use new bio-based and biodegradable raw materials in lubricants that protect particularly environmentally sensitive areas from conventional non-degradable lubricants.



Plastics for textile applications

In order to be able to produce textile composites by means of 3D printing technologies, new plastic compounds are being developed that meet the material requirements of production and application.



Identification and quantification of plastic films used in agriculture

Method development for the identification and quantification of microplastics and agricultural plastics in soils and their effect on soil ecosystems, with focus on mulch films.



Intermediates from industrial spent coffee grouds

The "InKa" project develops and evaluates recycling options for spent coffee grounds from the catering and commercial sectors within a timeframe of three years.