Coordinated by Conciaricerca Italia Srl, the project addressed the most prominent issues of European Tanneries: availability, quality and yield of raw material, as well as pollution prevention and control. Other partners are UNIC, COTANCE, Consejo Espanol de Curtidores, BLC, the Association of the Hungarian Leather and Shoe Industry, the Associazione Calzaturifici Riviera del Brenta, eight SMEs and six RTD performers.
The major goal was to develop a new, cost effective bio-manufacturing process for the production of a smart, innovative product, tailored for the specific needs of footwear manufacturers, to be used as raw material by tanneries, that will guarantee: controlled biochemical composition, standard and consistent quality, process yield increase, substitution of chemical with high tech biological processes, 50 – 60% reduction in water consumption and in pollution loads.
The 4-year project started in January 2004. After a six-month extension period, it came to its conclusion in July 2008. At the time of writing, the technology that has been developed is being patented. The results have somewhat deviated from initial expectations. However they are significant for the sector. Besides the patent, the European tannery will benefit from interesting spin-off that is now on-line on a specific web-site. They concern a new tanning process and new knowledge at the level of the skin structure that will allow a better use of chemicals in the production processes.
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