Hop training systems in Europe are based on wire or polypropylene (PP) twine trellises, usually pinched for about 6-7 meters above the ground on a regular arrangement of wooden or concrete poles. Roughly 5 dt/ha of steel cord and 5.5 dt/ha of steel barbed wire are consumed for wire netting, or 45 km of PP twines/ha for twining, each season. Both of the mentioned practices are far from EU’s environmental policy objectives, since the after-harvest biomass cannot be properly composted, recycled or landfilled. Unfortunately, for hop agro-waste, which yields up to 15 tons/ha (fresh matter) per season, the most frequent practice is still uncontrollable burning. In response to the problem described, BioTHOP project indorses a new circular economy for improved hop waste management, that combines alternative bioplastic twine materials based on poly(lactic acid) (PLA), with ability to be converted into novel feedstock for 100% biodegradable, compostable and recyclable packaging & horticulture product accessories. This project will expand from July 2019 to June 2022 and has a total project budget of 1.9 M€.
Technological Centre – TECOS, a scientific partner of LIFE BioTHOP with long-term experiences in manufacturing of semi-finished plastic components, moulds & injection transformation processes, will lead the piloting action on injection moulding of plating pots for horticulture, in particular for hop seedlings cultivated by IHPS. Additionally, TECOS will have a strong impact on the external stakeholders’ involvement, as it will link all the important actors of the bioplastic industrial chain to strengthen the inter-sectoral cooperation and to prove that BioTHOP materials can be effectively used in multi mass production sectors.
Contact: dr. Vesna Žepič Bogataj