Tetra Pak has joined the European Commission Graphene Flagship project as the exclusive representative from the packaging industry to explore possible future applications of graphene in food and beverage manufacturing.
Graphene is a carbon based material, one of the thinnest known to mankind – one atom thick – whilst also being incredibly strong – around 200 times stronger than steel. It is an excellent conductor of heat, electricity and has a wide range of light absorption abilities. Graphene material could bring breakthrough innovations with unlimited potential for integration in almost any industry.
Prof Konstantin Novoselov, physicist and Nobel Prize winner, said: ‘Graphene has the potential to revolutionise a range of processes and industries. Since Graphene’s first isolation in 2004, we have seen tremendous success and marketplace application of the material within electronics and automotive industries, I am looking forward to the next phase of the Graphene Flagship and exploring potential innovations in the packaging industry.’
Sara De Simoni, vice president, Equipment Engineering, Tetra Pak said: ‘Tetra Pak’s involvement with the European Graphene Flagship is one example of our ambition to drive innovation to the next level. It is a privilege to be the only representative from our industry in this research initiative and puts us at the cutting edge to address challenges through multidisciplinary research and development together with our industry partners.’
Packaging material innovation is being examined to see how graphene could offer coatings to reduce carbon footprint in packaging supply chain; it can also enhance the performance of current packaging materials, enable new functionality as well as increase recyclability.
With the development of smart packaging, Graphene’s ultra thin flexible sensors can be integrated to packages as data carriers for producers, retailers and consumers. Graphene sensors can also be smaller, lighter and less expensive than traditional sensors.
Exploring how graphene composites can be used to make equipment lighter and more energy efficient has the potential to reduce costs and energy consumption. With only modifications needed to equipment over additional purchases, both time and money are saved.