The Who, What and Why of Bio-foil
The use of plastic has become less and less popular in recent years. Awareness of the consequences for the environment has led to the advance of a new type of foil. Namely, biodegradable foil also called bio-foil.
In collaboration with Oerlemans plastic, we have developed a special bio-foil for cultivation in Brabant. The approach was to develop a foil for the Chrysanthemum cultivation. Weeds were a major recurring problem that could be solved with bio-foil.
The developed bio-foil consists of potato starch, corn starch, milk fat, and charcoal, of which charcoal is only used for the black color. This color is essential for the warming of the soil temperature.
In addition, the company Oerlemans plastic adds a few more elements, these are also 100% biodegradable and necessary to bind the ingredients into a foil.
Advantages of using bio-foil are, soil warming:
- Activation of micro-organisms
Organic material is mineralized more quickly. This mineralization stimulates the release of minerals (fertilizers), resulting in better absorption in the plant.
- Reduction of weeds
Weeds can germinate but burn automatically due to the sun shining on the foil. This means that no pesticides are needed.
- Less mold
This means a 50% to 70% reduction in fungal pesticides. The heat displaces the moisture that forms fungi.
- Better development of the plant roots
- Reduction of water use
Natural corridors are created through the decomposing of organic material and the action of micro-organism. Water can rise through capillary action. (Example: Terrarium) Because the soil is covered with bio foil, this water does not evaporate and benefits the plants. As a result, crops will dry out less quickly.
The top of the plots on which the foil is placed is 3 to 5 degrees warmer than surrounding plots without foil. In addition, the bio-foil ensures that minerals are not washed away during a heavy rain shower or storm.
During the testing of the bio-foil, new ideas arose for the application of the bio-foil. This is because other products could also be grown by heating the soil. This led to the idea of growing Ipomoea batatas.
This is currently being produced in Southern Europe, America, Canada, Egypt, China, and Africa. If this product no longer needs to be imported, this would mean a huge reduction in ecological footprint. In addition, the soil diversity of the countryside could be improved.
At the moment, the development of the machines for processing Ipomoea batatas is in full swing. In addition, the University of Wageningen has been engaged in further research into the effects of bio-foil on soil quality for 5 years.
In the future, we expect to be able to further expand the use of bio-film to other products as well.