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Xinova

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Air-Tight and Eco-Friendly

Innovate for sustainable packaging! Xinova is seeking new, sustainable materials for a gas barrier in shelf-stable aseptic packaging.
stage:
Solutions Selected (Winners Notified)
prize:
Up to $15,000
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Summary

Summary 

Xinova is seeking new, sustainable materials for a gas barrier in shelf-stable aseptic packaging. The ideal material(s) should provide a barrier against oxygen, water vapor, light, and (preferably) volatiles/odors. The material may come from renewable or non-renewable sources, so long as it meets the requirements. 

Existing aseptic packaging used to safely store and extend the shelf life of juices, coffee, soups, and other liquid food products is recyclable, but because the packaging contains paper, plastic, and metal layers that cannot be easily separated, it is typically downcycled into non-recyclable products. Xinova wants to create an aseptic package that is compatible with circular economy goals of continual reuse of materials and zero waste. One step toward that goal replaces the aluminum gas barrier layer in conventional aseptic packaging with a material that simplifies recycling and reduces the environmental impact of the package. The new material must make the packaging either 

  1. fully recyclable—the paperboard can be processed into new paper or paperboard, or
  2. re-pulpable— the paperboard can be made into pulp fibers that can be reused in any application.

 

Problem Definition

Aseptic packaging is a shelf-stable solution for liquid products such as juice, coffee, and soups. The packaging, comprised mainly of cellulose fibers, is coated with multiple barrier materials, including polyethylene (PE), which serves as a water barrier, and aluminum, which provides a gas and light barrier. The package’s multiple layers protect the product within from degradation or spoilage for months at room temperature, thereby reducing the need for preservatives. 

While aseptic packaging can be recycled in many (though not all) areas, it is not currently a circular process. Due to the difficulty in fully separating thermoplastics and aluminum from the cellulose, all components are down-cycled rather than re-used to create new aseptic packaging. They are made into roof shingles, plastic lumber, or similar products that are durable but not recyclable. Furthermore, many of the layers in aseptic packaging are made of fossil-fuel-based polymers, rather than low-carbon, renewable alternatives. 

For the gas barrier, aluminum is still regarded as an ideal oxygen and moisture barrier. Many alternative materials being explored either do not provide the same barrier properties , are too rigid or brittle for use in packages with creases, or are not widely available or scalable to high volume production. There is, therefore, a need for an alternative gas barrier material that meets these requirements in order to:

  • Simplify recycling of aseptic packaging
  • Reduce its environmental impact.

 

Why This Problem Is Valuable to Solve 

Many manufacturing companies are moving toward a circular economy, where all materials are reused as many times as possible and never end up as waste. Doing so reduces the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts associated with creating materials from fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources. Single-use food and beverage packaging comprises a significant portion of municipal solid waste and diverting that waste will also mitigate landfill capacity concerns. Replacing the aluminum gas barrier layer in aseptic packaging is one step toward creating an aseptic container that is either 1) fully recyclable and capable of being reprocessed into high-value products or 2) industrially compostable if made entirely from biodegradable materials. Such a container would also meet upcoming guidelines on single-use plastics and composite materials that are coming from the European Union (EU).


An Ideal Solution

NOTE: Solutions will be evaluated in part by how well they address the expected performance relative to the requirements below. Use any information available to you, such as relevant measurements, other data, or assessments based on physical properties.

 

An ideal solution will encompass these key requirements: 

  • Barrier for gas under varying climates (see full challenge document for details)
  • Food-safe:
    • No leaching of barrier material into food or beverage (e.g. through internal PE layer)
    • Does not promote microbial growth, and is not toxic to microbes
    • Would not affect the odor or taste of the container’s food or beverage
  • Flexible (does not crack when paperboard is folded)
  • Suitable for hot fill applications
  • Gas barrier materials are recyclable
  • Functional over a shelf-life of 6 months to 3 years
  • If no water barrier properties: possible to adhere to a water-resistant layer(s) such as PE, PP, PET

Requirements for Commercial Feasibility:

  • Cost increase of no more than 20-100% per m2 barrier initially, with the option to accommodate higher cost if proposed solution also eliminates the need for tie layers. Base cost is for a PE-aluminum structure.
  • Scalability and material availability to pilot production speed (250 m2/min), coating at least 10,000 tons of paperboard annually, or 30 million m2 of surface, within 3-4 years
  • Compatible with conventional pigment coating processes and conventional extrusion, lamination, or dispersion technologies (comment on: dry substance, viscosities, melt temperature (Tg), heat contraction.)
  • Reasonable amount of material (g/m2) needed to achieve the given barrier strength (share trade-offs to be considered).

This is where you come in. 

Ready to accept the challenge and submit your solution? 

Here’s how:

Who is Xinova? 

Our curated network of 12,000 innovators and experts propel growth across the full innovation lifecycle. We partner with visionary leaders to share the risk and reward of innovation.

Think beyond.

Why should I join the Xinova Innovator Network? 

Are you or your team seeking monetary rewards for great ideas?

Do you stay awake at night thinking about ideas that positively impact business or society? Ideas that you’d like to see become a reality? If so, you know that the road from concept to commercialization is often filled with risks and obstacles. That’s where Xinova comes in. We pay you for the part you love, and handle the rest. Sign-up now.

Frequently asked questions about the Xinova Innovator Network


Challenge Partnership

This challenge is brought to you by Xinova in partnership with HeroX - dedicated to bringing innovative thinking to the world through social networks. A Xinova client has sponsored this opportunity.

 

Prize/Payment

Chosen ideas receive step payments along the review and commercialization chain, from Xinova’s selection to client selection to implementation. If your idea is patented or becomes a trade secret you get paid for that too. Selected ideas can earn up to $15,000 USD by the time it is patented or designated as a trade secret!


Timeline

Open for Submissions Now
Submission DeadlineFebruary 3, 2020 ,11:59 PM PDT
Solution ReviewAll solutions will be reviewed. If your idea is selected, it will be presented to the client which could lead to it being patented or turned into a trade secret.        
Winners Announced   March 5, 2020, 11:59PM PDT

 

How Do I Participate?

To participate in this challenge, you must create an account in the Xinova portal. To submit your solution, you will need to sign an contract with Xinova.  

Note: You do not need to sign a contract in order to create an account or sign into the Xinova portal.  You are free to view this opportunity or browse available opportunities and interact with Xinova’s website without a contract.  However, in order to make a submission for any of our opportunities, you will either need to be submitting as a member of an organization within the Xinova network or you will be prompted to view and sign a contract at the time of submission.  We don't want you to worry-- we'll make sure you get a contract if and when you need it.  

 

What Happens After I Submit a Solution?

We want you and your idea to succeed! So, as we review your idea, Xinova may reach out to you to clarify anything or request more information. Your responses are critical to your idea progressing through our review process. If your idea is selected, Xinova may again follow up with you to identify development partners, or connect you with the entity that is developing your idea further. 

 

More questions?

Check our our FAQs or reach out using our chat feature once you login.

Who is Xinova? 

Our curated network of 12,000 innovators and experts propel growth across the full innovation lifecycle. We partner with visionary leaders to share the risk and reward of innovation.

Think beyond.

Why Should I Join the Xinova Innovator Network? 

Are you or your team seeking monetary rewards for great ideas?

Do you stay awake at night thinking about ideas that positively impact business or society? Ideas that you’d like to see become a reality? If so, you know that the road from concept to commercialization is often filled with risks and obstacles. That’s where Xinova comes in. We pay you for the part you love, and handle the rest. Sign-up now.

 

Who can participate?

Anyone who has created an account on the Xinova portal. 

Join the Xinova Innovator Network today and get the full details on this unique challenge

 

Timeline
Forum
Teams3
FAQ