Biopolymers with advanced functionalities for building and automotive parts processed through additive manufacturing


The BARBARA project aims to covert the side-stream fractions and residues from agro-food production into novel polysaccharides and functional additives that can be valorised. These compounds will be selected to provide additional capabilities to polymers. These will be mixed with other compounds to create engineering bioplastics adapted for Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) processes (3D printing).

BARBARA will develop novel bio-based engineering bio-plastic materials that will be validated using functional prototypes in the building and automotive sectors. This will ultimately allow development of improved mechanical, thermal and aesthetic properties of novel bio-based engineering polymers as well as demonstrators of final parts for the automotive sector and moulds and tools for hybrid manufacturing in advanced building applications.



The main objectives of BARBARA are to:

  • Develop four new BARBARA materials, in the form of engineering optimised biopolymers, reinforced with bio-additives, designed to achieve customised physical-chemical properties
  • Validate BARBARA materials through additive manufacturing FFF processing in two key European sectors, namely automotive and building
  • Contribute to establishing two new bio-based value chains

In addition, it has specific objectives on:

  • Extracting biomolecules and biopolymers from agro-food by-products
  • Developing functionalized bioadditives, bioplastic matrices and engineering composites
  • Prototyping technologies and validation

BARBARA intends to make the following impacts:

  • Improving sustainability through using natural biomolecules valorised from agricultural residues
  • Developing a new bio-based, compostable polyester matrix with suitable properties for use in FFF technology.
  • Developing a new, partially bio-based, polyamide matrix, with a 25% target of retaining the same properties as fully oil-based types.
  • Processing BARBARA´s materials to obtain biopolymeric compounds, both extruding compounds and manufacturing the products using FFF).

Project achievements & milestones

BBI JU-funded BARBARA project enhaced sustainability in the automotive and construction sectors with new bio-based materials
20 April 2021
EU-funded scientists have developed sustainable, bio-based materials for use in the automotive and construction sectors. These new materials formed from food waste and agricultural by-products exhibit improved resilience to high temperatures and mechanical stress. Read More

BARBARA: transforming food by-products into useful raw materials
06 October 2020
Every year, the European Union produces around 110 million tonnes of food waste in terms of animal and vegetable matter. Some of that waste, in the form of almond shells, is already being used as a biofuel. But could these shells also be used to produce state-of-the-art innovations in the construction or car industries? Read more

Creation of improved corn starch for bio-based plastics is possible, article finds
01 July 2020
The results highlight the importance of selecting appropriate synthesis methods, conditions and characterisation techniques to create materials with the desired properties. The project also found that using benign, easily recoverable reagents and catalysts enhances green chemistry principles in the production of starch esters. Read more

Food waste as feedstock for 3D printed bioplastics
01 January 2020
The BBI JU-funded BARBARA project is converting extracts of lemon rinds, almond husks and corn by-products into sustainably sourced car parts and building components, replacing fossil-based plastics, protecting the environment and growing the circular economy. Read more

How BBI JU is helping businesses to repurpose waste to drive new circular economic models
17 October 2019
As a conversation piece, the circular economy is on everyone’s lips. It’s not just a buzzword. With the global population predicted to approach 9 billion people by 2030, we are using more resources than the planet can provide. Our future depends on reusing what we have in a sustainable way. The BARBARA project is turning a lab-scale research concept into a feasible and growth-orientated market opportunity to use food waste in 3D printing and automotive industries. Read more