Hydal biotechnology as the first in the world on the industrial scale uses waste cooking oil to produce a highly valuable feedstock – biopolymer PHB.
Hydal biotechnology has a global potential and meets all criteria of the so-called Circular Economy. It is a technology for upcycling: it takes waste cooking oil and transforms it into a completely different product – biopolymer.
It represents a part of the solution for plastic pollution.
As the first technology in the history of the Czech Republic, Hydal biotechnology has won Frost and Sullivan Technology Innovation Award and other global prizes. It is deserving because the technology is based on an ingenious idea of making the highly desirable PHA biopolymer from used oil, which is considered overtaking its time. In 2012, the technology acquired its name – Hydal (abbreviation of Polyhydroxyalcanoates).
Story of Hydal
In harmony with nature
Hydal technology as the first in the world on an industrial scale uses toxic waste - waste cooking oil to produce bioplastics. Waste cooking oil is a surplus on the global scale.
The bacteria we use are part of the ecosystem for millions of years. Approximately two billion years ago, these bacteria came from space. They do not produce PHA purposelessly. For the bacteria, PHA forms a reservoir of energy for worse times.
New life of waste
Hydal biotechnology is a technology for upcycling: it does not produce oil, but it takes waste cooking oil and transforms it into a completely different product – biopolymer.
The nature is perfect, and what it produces can be reused or recycled. Biopolymer represents feed for microorganisms (other bacteria) or for organisms. Thanks to these properties, PHA is fully biodegradable. It means that the nature will make full use of it - in soil, water, or in seas.
Benefits for people
Currently, the biopolymer’s application is multifaceted, in the end, truly infinite. Replacing plastic packaging or microplastics (e.g. in the cosmetics industry) will significantly contribute to reducing plastics pollution.
Let´s stop the contamination of our planet!
Conversion takes place in the following steps:
Microbial fermentation, where bacteria “consume” used cooking oil and transform it into granules of PHA stored inside the bacterial cell. This process is commonly called upstream process.
Isolation of the polymer from microbial cells is called downstream process. This process involves the breakup of microbial cells where PHA granules are released.
The final polymer in the form of a powder may be processed into granules. The final desired bioplastics product is mixed with additives for stabilization. Each blend is unique for the final product (e.g. blends for mulching film extrusion). We use pure PHB powder for cosmetic applications.
Biopolymer is 100% biodegradable in nature:
Plastic is a trap: background one of the most significant challenges of the world
The problem of the planet's contamination with synthetic plastics has reached extreme proportions. Plastics have contaminated land, rivers and seas. Plastic waste kills hundreds of thousands of marine animals. The seas and oceans with plastic pollution have become the largest dumps in the world.
Plastic waste kills hundreds of thousands of marine animals. The seas and oceans with plastic pollution have become the largest dumps in the world.
The plastics production is growing exponentially and generates more problems. In recent years, experts have identified the issue of invisible plastics - the so-called microplastics, which are particularly dangerous. These ever-present plastic fragments are too small or hidden to be seen, but they have penetrated into the food chain.
Governments are unable to take up any solutions, except for banning the use of free one-off plastic bags. If nothing is done, the scenario of the future is introduced below. By 2050 there will be as much plastics as fish in the seas.
Forecast for plastics volume growth, externalities and oil consumption in a business-as-usual scenario:
What does the technology offer
Hydal brings a concept where PHA is made from waste by a simple process at a competitive price, and its end of life is clear already before manufacturing the product.
Key impacts of the Hydal concept:
Based on many discussions with cross-industry experts, we have defined the criteria that Hydal concept must meet to be successful and sustainable
Synergy with recycling systems
No production of new waste, i.e. not creating any new waste and using "closing the loop" process of manufacturing already in the phase of the product development.
Biodegradability in soil, water and marine environment
Biocompatibility with human body and ecosystems.
Clear End of Life Concept of Hydal PHA products – biodegradability, recycling, upcycling
Hydal concept meets the following 5 impacts:
Urban waste management and material recovery of waste – a priority of circular economy strategy
Elimination of WCO damage for waste water treatment plants – WCO contaminates waste water treatment systems
“Nature works” – Hydal is a biotechnological process
Elimination of damage on the environment by microplastics and plastics thanks to the usage of fully biodegradable and biocompatible Hydal PHA
No new waste strategy – biodegradability a biocompatibility of PHA based products and their recycling represent an example of “closing the loop” production system.
Key competitive advantage – price of PHA depending on conversion rate and feedstock
Unlike the competitors, the technology does not use crops or other feedstock, which requires the use of agricultural land.
Bioplastics manufactured by this technology are significantly more affordable than other bioplastics made from the first generation feedstock, such as corn, potatoes or sugar cane (in addition, the manufacturing requires supplies of external energy, which increases the final price).
In the case of Hydal technology, waste cooking oil can also be used as an energy source supporting the production energy independence.
The efficiency of the process is underlined by the three times higher calorific value of the oil compared to sugar.
Hydal manufacturing process has two phases:
Fermentation – we use our own microbiological collection of natural bacteria for the PHA production in biomass
Isolation and separation – we have developed and verified a completely new process comprising biodegradable solvents.
In both cases the final biopolymer – P3HB or PHBV – has a purity higher than 99% and high molecular weight.
Hydal concept and meeting the goals of sustainable development
Within our cooperation with ORKLA we meet the goals of sustainable development as follows:
“Closing the loop” strategy
It means - every new product must have a clear recycling or other end of life cycle before the beginning of the R&D phase.
A key part of our strategy is working with brand owners and creating a “closing the loop” concept. One of the first examples is cooperation with ORKLA:
For more information on the strengths of the Hydal concept, including the business model and the sophisticated R & D system, see our Technology Guide
Where we are and where are we going
We are on the right track
Independent evaluation of technology and business strategy – we have confirmed that we are on the right track
Excellency of know-how in converting toxic waste into high quality biopolymer was appreciated by significant awards:
2017 Seal of Excellence Horizon 2020
2016 Top 10 Product Award – Shenzen
2016 EASTERN EUROPEAN BUSINESS ELITE AWARDS
2016 Seal of Excellence Horizon 2020
2015 the 2015 Frost and Sullivan Technology Innovation Award for Hydal BioTech
Seal of Excellence Horizon 2020 defines excellence in 3 areas, in which we have obtained an excellent evaluation.
The Frost and Sullivan Evaluation Report evaluates technology and business strategy. In both cases, we acquired an excellent rating (on the scale of 1-10). Technology rating was 9.5 points out of 10 and business strategy 9.3 points out of 10.
The acquirement of this prize - and the appreciation of our work - has brought us great joy and encouraged us to work further.
Technology Development Status
Our technology is in TRL 8
Setting up industrial capacity which means that 1.000 t PHA is in process (TRL 9).
Application Development Strategy - What, why and with whom do we develop?
Our application development strategy is based on the so-called priority application segments.
For us, priority segments are segments, where there are clear and long-term drivers of consumption:
Legislative – i.e. the demand is created by legislation, e.g. substitution of microplastics or material use of waste.
Consumer – i.e. there is a realistic and profiled demand, e.g. new material base for 3D printing, bio UV filter, bio solvents. Consumers are willing to pay for new ecological solutions.
Final applications / products eliminate the damage to ecosystems and the environment - biodegradable and biocompatible bioplastics for the packaging industry.
"Ideal application" is meeting all three criteria.
Our R&D projects are dedicated to these priority applications, which are already in the process of solving:
New material base for 3D printing
Abrasive particles for cosmetics
Bio UV filter
Bio-flavours and fragrances
PHA based fibers
Testing the biodegradability of Hydal PHA in water and soil
Development of bioplastic applications for films, injection moulding and thermoforming
,,Dedicatet to you and nature”
It is the world’s first cosmetic that biodegrades completely, prevents waste and doesn’t burden the environment with problematic microplastics and micro-pollutants.
It doesn’t contain any substance that negatively impacts on the environment or in any way it does, but meets high standards for the end costumer.
NAFIGATE Corporation and NAFIGATE Cosmetics are responsible for its development and production.
Strategic Cooperation (with whom?) and New Value Chain
Hydal PHA is a basic raw material for creating a new value chain, within which we are building a strategic cooperation in the following target segments:
Our path in the field of preparation and the development of strategic cooperation is as follows.
We prefer a limited number of strategic collaborations with institutions and businesses that meet the following criteria:
Synergy of a company with Hydal project / institutional strategy.
Willingness to share the risks of joint innovation projects.
Acceptance of long-term innovation projects.
Respecting the"closing the loop" strategy - every new product must have a clear recycling or other end of life cycle before the beginning of the R&D phase (No New Waste Concept)
Real projects with a clear and measurable goal - not marketing or PR projects with greenwashing involved.
The Hydal concept intellectual property protection
Intellectual property protection is an integral part of our concept. Our company is considered the so-called knowledge-based company. We create know-how, which we sell and which generates our income.
Our business model is based on:
License sales in the form of the project documentation for the construction of Hydal factories
Sales of know-how in the production of chemical specialities
Experts services sales
For more on setting up our intellectual property protection, see our Technology Guide.
Trade secret of Hydal - summary
The whole Hydal know-how has its heart in the following key parts:
Digital Factory concept
Any of these is patentable, and so becomes a part of the trade secret.
The trade secret is a part of an offered license.
Both parts function as a base protection against know-how stealing. It is not possible to achieve a high production performance without the control system based on the process modelling as well as on the microbial library and knowledge how to treat and deal with microorganism for the long term stable PHB manufacturing.
The Trade Secret is centralised.
Only the know-how output will be provided to final manufacturing sites (in a decentralised way).
Brand Hydal and Hydal is NATURE
Strong Brand Based on the SDG ́s of United Nations and Circular Economy Approach.
Hydal – the first bioplast in an endless circulation and under the “baton of Mother Nature”.
I come from waste. As vegetable oil I had already been used to fulfil my purpose. I became waste. And as waste, I can also destroy (sewerage system). But I got a new chance – Czech Biotechnology Hydal has returned me back to circulation. Hence, from waste I became PHA biopolymer (polyhydroxyalkanoates). Therefore, my name is Hydal. I was made by nature, by bacteria that have been a part of our ecosystems for millions of years. I’m a biomaterial that may replace microplastics or synthetic plastics. There will be no waste left after me. I will fall apart in soil, water and seas into water and CO2
Hydal is nature:
In 2017, we identified the need to create a B2C product brand that will be used for selected products, such as home 3D printing filaments, packaging etc.
Understanding the term upcycling
A simple rendering of the upcycling process gives the brand its key content.
Collaboration of czech scientists stands behind the new technology
From an idea to application in practice
The team of Professor Ivana Márová from the Technical University in Brno stands behind the main idea of the new technology. At the Technical University in Brno the first patent was created and became the base for its further development. In 2012, NAFIGATE Corporation, a.s. purchased the license for the patent. The company also implemented the phase of the technology transition from the laboratory to the industrial scale. NAFIGATE Corporation, a.s. also cooperates with the Institute of Microbiology of the Academy of Sciences in Prague, the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, the Research Institute of Chemical Technology in Šala and other institutions.
The closest future
In 2018, NAFIGATE Corporation, a. s., made a contract agreement with the Czech company BOCHEMIE a.s.* for the construction of the first factory for Hydal in the Czech Republic. The factory will be able to produce up to 1000 tons of material. Together with BOCHEMIE a.s. we also submitted a project application on financing development and production of chemical specialties under the APPLICATION program financed by OPPIK (Operational Program Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness). The project is supposed to run between 2018-2020 with a budget of 3 million euros.
At this moment, we are negotiating with strategic investors in the EU, the US, China and Singapore. Investors will be licensed to produce PHA on industrial lines with a planned capacity of 10,000 tons of PHA/year. The production base is expected to be constructed in China with a plan to build 6-8 factories in existing production zones. We also discuss a potential cooperation in other regions.
We asked our research team members a question, „Why am I interested in biotechnology“?
Motto: „The difference between good an excellent are team members”
Lenka Mynářová – member of the board and responsible for Hydal project
The fact that we have been successful in developing technology and TRL 8 in last 8 years is no coincidence.
We have made it for these reasons:
Our team consists of excellent members and experts.
We share one vision - a "better world" without synthetic plastics and new waste
We have created one community, although working in parallel in different places and on different projects.
We represent a multiprofessional team with the following qualifications: biotechnologists, organic chemists, process engineers, mathematical modelling experts, material engineers, biopolymers and bioplastics processing experts, marketing specialists, brand manager, business development specialists, key account managers for strategic cooperation, market intelligence specialists, experts on waste management, legislation experts, IPR team.
I have been leading this team for the whole time. I have accepted a great responsibility, because I see an enormous potential in Hydal and I regard myself as a leader.
Now I would like to introduce other team members with their view on Hydal:
Father of Hydal – the author of the idea and chief scientist of Hydal is Stanislav Obruča
„I like the idea of Hydal - turning problematic waste into valuable substance. I am proud that I am a part of the project from the very beginning - one cold winter morning few years ago. With hindsight, I see that the idea was exciting but also a little bit naive. It must have been. Some level of naivety is one of the identification markers of the world-changing ideas. You cannot change the World with both feet on the ground.“
VP of Bio Division (Hydal concept is its competency) in our company is Daniel Pohludka
„From a professional point of view, Hydal is a unique biotechnology I have passion for. For me, as a human being, the technology is an excellent way of processing useless material into a very beneficial material for people and the environment.“
Up-stream Process is conducted by Juraj Bolyó
„To me, Hydal represents a unique opportunity to be a part of something great and exceptional. It means to be a part of a strong team with excellent members. It is a possibility to contribute to the permanent development and improvement of biotech processes, with surprising results... It is exciting.“
Our team of researchers from the Brno University of Technology