Fibrenamics and INOVA present an innovative project for the development of fibers from non-food milk produced in the Azores
The Milkfibre project will have a financing of 300 thousand euros and aims to take advantage of the waste of milk produced in the Azorean pastures for the production of fibers.
Fibrenamics, the R&D platform of the University of Minho, and INOVA - Institute of Technological Innovation of the Azores -, just presented a Research and Development Center (R&D) that will implement an applied research project aimed at the development of a casein fiber from non-food milk produced in the Azores region.
With a financing of 300 thousand euros from the Azores 2020, an estimated duration of three years and a team of 10 researchers, the project called Milkfibre, will be developed by the R&D Center formed by the consortium of which Fibrenamics Azores is part, by the company CIMPA, promoter of the project and holder of knowledge in the domains of the development of fibrous materials through various technological processes, and INOVA, co-promoter of the project.
The Milkfibre project includes the studies necessary for the development of casein fiber from non-food milk produced on pastures in the Azores, and its main objective is to use fibers obtained from milk waste in various applications, such as textiles, food, health, among others.
This project will be developed in three distinct phases: in a first phase, the separation of casein protein from milk, analyzing processes, methodologies, technologies and associated materials. In a second phase, it is intended to produce fibers from the obtained protein, this production being studied at the macro and nano levels. Finally, in a third phase, the functionalization of the obtained fibers (macro and nanofibers) will be analyzed, in order to provide additional properties to them, such as topographic roughness, antibacterial action, among others, thus enabling the increase in the range of possible applications of the materials obtained.
The R&D Nucleus predicts that results will be obtained at three levels: Scientific, Technological and Product, as explained by Raul Fangueiro, Fibrenamics Coordinator: “with regard to scientific results, the development of knowledge is expected to result in publications in leading journals, participation in conferences and, above all, a mobilizing effect of knowledge. From a technological perspective, new processes will be explored for obtaining and functionalizing milk fiber, both at the macro scale and at the nano / micro scale. From the perspective of the product, it is planned to boost projects regarding the transfer of generated knowledge to the business fabric. At the same time, there will be a wide dissemination of the project's results to society”.
“There is a huge potential yet to be discovered in these materials that play such an important role for the region's economy. This is a new way of enhancing the milk sector, which contributes to a more sustainable use of byproducts and which can bring more value to the sector, contributing to the so-called circular economy ”, explains João Carlos Nunes, Scientific Director of INOVA.
Milkfibre has the financial support of the Regional Government of the Azores, and the presentation was attended by the Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology, Gui Menezes, who reinforced its importance for the region's economy: “it is proof of that the transfer of knowledge between companies and research centers is the path to the development of innovative ideas and projects, which can take advantage of the resources existing in our region, in this specific case, from milk residues, enhancing them, and creating wealth ”.