BetaWare is a material made from sugar beet cellulose and molasses, which is vegan and compostable. Sugar beet cellulose, water and molasses are by-products of sugar production. By-products accumulate during production processes and are not the purpose of processing, but can find their own usage in an intermediate use. Through an intermediate use, the material can be returned to the cycle after use. No additional cultivation areas are used for the consumption of goods, but material that already exists is processed into products. In addition to agriculture, by-products are also generated in waste, energy and forestry industries.
As an example, sugar beet cellulose was studied and investigated as a sustainable material. For a deeper understanding of the sugar beet cycle, in addition to intensive research, the sugar beet cultivation, the processing in the sugar factory and the further use were considered and the actors were interviewed.
Sugarbeet is grown and processed throughout Germany. Approximately 3.1 million tons of beet pulp are produced in Germany each year. These are marketed regionally as animal feed or biogas substrate. Volumes are expected to continue to rise, and the expiration of the sugar market regulation calls for further opportunities to add value to the by-products.
Through an intermediate use, coupled production can save energy and resources, be produced regionally, and be returned to further use after consumption.
For the development of the material, many test series were carried out and a wide variety of processes were tested. As a result, the material was optimised and its properties were investigated and evaluated. This included strength tests in the university laboratory and injection moulding tests at the company Arburg GmbH + Co KG.
The findings were summarised in a profile and incorporated into the design in a variety of ways to place the material in a context of use.
The raw ingredients can be processed as plate material or by injection moulding. The material can then be sawed, drilled, milled and turned. It can also be glued and screwed together and processed with a laser or file. The surface can be oiled, but still absorbs water.
It consists entirely of renewable raw materials, can be honestly composted or energetically recycled in a biogas plant and then used as fertiliser on the field. Series production, adapted to the available quantity and with low-complexity tooling, should reduce costs. Injection moulding is a very interesting process for these goals and opens up many possibilities. Transport distances are minimised and renewable monomaterial is used.
The raw materials are pressed or injection moulded into moulds or sheets.
Katrin Krupka, Sarah Böttger