Cork sector is commited to innovation
Catalan cork industry is a very dynamic sector that concentrates a very significant global cork production, especially in the field of closing. The use of cork material promotes forest management and favour Mediterranean forest conservation and protection.
Right now there are different projects that demonstrate how all those involved in the cork industry are making a firm commitment to innovation.
One exemple is Ecorkwaste project, funded by European Program LIFE, whose aims is demonstrating technical, environmental and economic feasibility of a byproduct from the cork industry valorization system, according to the size of byproduct from the cork industry particles.
The way to achieve this is demonstrating, in pilot scale, the feasibility of hybrid constructed wetland system based on the use of byproducts of cork such as granular media in the treatment of agro-industrial waste water (wastewater from the wine industry). Thus, wetland plants remove organic matter and byproducts of cork absorb recalcitrant organic compounds (polyphenols) of wastewater.
The agents involved in this project are UPC, Catalan Institute of Suro (member of Tecnio network), Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic (member of Tecnio network), Typsa, and the Catalan Wine Cluster INNOVI.
Ecorkwaste is not, however, the only innovation project in which the cork sector is involved. Here are other initiatives being implemented that mark a new path in the development of the relationship between the wine industry and the cork industry and the consolidation of the circular economy in Catalonia.
Evaluation of the oxygen permeability of different types of closing
The aim of this project is to determine the oxygen transfer of different types of closing over time and conducting a comparative study. Thus, the value of the amount of oxygen that passes through each type of closing allow them to characterize and classify them.
Keep in mind that this parameter is very important to anticipate aging in bottle. The results of permeability will be contrasted with the analysis of two indicators of flavors: one oxidized and another reduced.
Implementation of a system of return of cork under the circular economy
The main objective is to determine the feasibility of implementing a system for collecting corks and evaluation of new alternatives to promote recycling. Currently corks are managed in the organic fraction of waste.
Also, the project studies which is the best option to get recycle cork from a technical and economic viability for the production of products or applications of cork once crushed. This process must integrate all economic and social agents involved in the process of collection, recycling and revaluation cork.
This project is co-funded by Catalan Waste Agency of Environment & Sustainability Department of Generalitat de Catalunya.
“Interacciona” – Development of active labels produced on a large scale
This project aims to design and manufacture smart tags based on NFC technology designed to be used on bottles of wine and liquor. The labels can be controlled from an smartphone application and will easily integrate with active functions as temperature and humidity sensors and electro-luminance components. This pre-industrial series of smart tags allow the bottled product interaction with their environment and their interconnectivity in the network.
This project is co-funded by Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness and by European Funds for Regional Development (FEDER) within the framework of the call Challenges-Collaboration of the State Program for Research, Development and Innovation Oriented to the Challenges of Society, in the framework of State Plan of Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation 2013-2016.
Branding of "Taps de finca" to encourage the use of local cork and increasing the competitiveness of wineries in DO Empordà
The project aims to establish an organizational method to facilitate use by cork local wineries integrated into the DO Emporda and propose a marketing strategy to appraise the Catalan cork extracted within the territory of the DO Emporda. The project will facilitate relations between Catalan cork owners, trainers cork stoppers industrial manufacturers, research centers and warehouses users of these blocks.
It is a project co-funded by Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food of Generalitat de Catalunya and by European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Development of a material based on environmentally sustainable cork for use in additive manufacturing. 3DCORK
The project aims to create a new product with cork base usable for printing additive, extrusion, injection and manufacture, call 3DCork. 3DCork new material will be more than 20% of mass composition cork; biodegradable and therefore environmentally sustainable.
Life+ Suber project
The project's main objective is to implement and transfer innovative techniques of forest management in cork to promote adaptation to climate change and increasing the resilience of forest dominated by Quercus suber systems, thus promoting their conservation and maintenance of the chain associated value.
Among the specific objectives are the following:
Improve the vitality of cork and reduce the effects of lower water availability, while increasing the production of cork.
Improving the structure of Quercus suber forests so that they reduce the horizontal and vertical continuity of fuel and, therefore, the spread and intensity of forest fires.
Improving the functionality and resilience to climate change of the cork degraded.
Reduce damage Coraebus undatus using bio-rational control populations (mass trapping) and reducing the susceptibility of cork to be attacked.