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 global potential and meets all criteria of the so-called Circular Economy. That is defined as a system in which resource input and waste are minimized by the use of “closing the loop” production. The aim is to prevent waste and use waste, especially in a material way (i.e. not only as an energy source)
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. 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 biopolymer. Waste cooking oil is a surplus on the global scale.
Nature creates 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.
Nature “recycles” 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 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 synthetic plastics in meaningful applacations 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.
solation 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 biopolymer – P3HB or PHBV – has a purity higher than 99% and high molecular weight. The 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: one of the most significant challenges of the world
Plastic is a material with unique properties, but the amount of plastics being generated, and its insufficient processing and disposal has brought the world into a global plastic crisis.
Plastics contaminated the land, rivers and seas. Every year, between 8 and 12 million tons of plastics get into the seas and oceans, and about 150 million tons of plastic waste means approximately 23 million tons of additives.
Microplastics were also detected in drinking water and even in remote areas without human activity. However, despite these warnings, plastic consumption grows exponentially, as well as the problem of plastic pollution. In fact, by 2050, there might 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 features of the Hydal concept:
Material recovery of waste – one of the priorities of the circular economy,
Waste generation prevention – waste is generated neither during the product development phase nor during the production itself through the use of the remaining biomass;
Upcycling technology – oil is not recycled from waste cooking oil, a completely different product is gained – biopolymer;
Biopolymer PHA is produced by bacteria as a reservoir of energy for "worse times" – bacteria have been part of our ecosystem for millions of years because they got to the planet from space;
Biodegradability in soil, water, and marine environment – PHA represents food for which other bacteria or other organisms. Thanks to these properties, PHA is fully biodegradable, which in other words means that it is fully utilized by nature;
Biocompatibility with human body and ecosystems;
Clear end of life cycle of products based on PHA – biodegradability, recycling, upcycling;
Elimination of environmental damage caused by microplastics and plastics;
"Closing the loop" strategy – collaboration with companies that agree to create the "closing the loop" concept. One such example is the cooperation with the Scandinavian giant ORKLA:
Unlike the competitors, the technology does not use crops or other feedstock, which requires the use of agricultural land. Hydal feedstock is primarily waste cooking oil of almost any quality. The technology solves the problem of waste cooking oil utilization, and at the same time saves water and energy production.
Hydal is a strong brand based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) and the concept of circular economy.
We also meet the goals of sustainable development through our cooperation with ORKLA:
Find more information on the strengths of the Hydal concept in the White paper.
Where we are and where are we going
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
2018 Manager of the Year Award of the Czech Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD) Innovation for Sustainable
2018 the 3rd place in the Competition of SDGs Award
2018 Honorable Mention of the Engineering Academy of the Czech Republic
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 9.
In 2019, we verified the suitability of another waste material sludge palm oil for PHA production
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 ecosystem is based on the following features:
Open Science and Open Innovation Concept with a strong emphasis on international cooperation with all stakeholders in the value chain.
Talent Management – 3 of our chief scientists are under the age of 30 and represent the exceptional talents that make up the Hydal Concept.
360°approach – our solution is designed from feedstock to the end of life level. Each product that we develop and offer to the market underwent biodegradability tests in real conditions and LCA. All these documents are openly shared with the expert community.
Education about biopolymers/bioplastics, plastics and circular economy – educational activities are an integral part of our work.
,,Dedicated to you and nature”
It is the world’s first cosmetics that biodegrades completely, prevents waste generation and doesn’t burden the environment with problematic microplastics and micro-pollutants.
It doesn’t contain any substance that negatively impacts the environment, but at the same time it meets high standards for the end customer.
NAFIGATE Corporation and NAFIGATE Cosmetics are responsible for its development and production.
The Hydal concept of intellectual property protection
Intellectual property protection is an integral part of our concept. Our company is considered a 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 specialties
Experts services sales
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 modeling 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).
Hydal – the first biopolymer in an endless circulation and under the “baton of Mother Nature”.
I come from waste. As vegetable oil, I had already been used to fulfill my purpose. I became a 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 in certain applications. There will be no waste left after me. I 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 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.
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 the Hydal project
“The fact that we have been able to develop technology for 8 years and reach TRL 9 is no coincidence.
We did this for the following reasons:
* Our team consists of excellent people who are also excellent professionals.
* We share one vision - a "better world" without synthetic plastics and new waste.
* We have created one community, although we work in parallel in different locations and projects.
* We are a multiprofessional team with the following qualifications: biotechnologists, organic chemists, process engineers, mathematical modeling experts, material engineers, biopolymers and bioplastics processing specialists, marketing specialists, brand manager, business development specialist, Key Account Managers for strategic cooperation, Market Intelligence Specialists, Waste Management Expert, Legal Expert, Intellectual Property Protection Team.
* I led this team the whole time. I took great responsibility because I saw huge potential in Hydal and because I consider myself a leader.
Now I would like to introduce the other team members and their opinion 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 a 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 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 Tomáš Špaček
„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.“
"She participates in up-stream and is responsible for ceratin projects of the down-stream part"
Our team of researchers from the Brno University of Technology