The Fakuma trade show earlier this month saw the debut of a start-up called Golden Compound GmbH (Ladbergen, Germany), a company that has found a way to valorize a residual product that, up until now, was mostly burned. The company, a 50/50 joint venture between Cargill (Wayzata, MN) and Germany-based SPC GmbH, was set up for the purpose of developing, producing and commercializing fiber-reinforced bioplastic compounds based on sunflower seeds. Or to be more specific: on sunflower seed hulls.
Sunflower hulls are the by-product of the dehulling of sunflower seeds before they are used for oil extraction or other purposes. Lightweight and bulky, they are often burned as fuel or used as a garden material or as roughage for cattle and sheep. During an interview with PlasticsToday, Marcel Dartée, General Manager at Golden Compound said: “They are a perfect choice: sunflower hulls are available in infinite quantities; they are a side product that does not compete with the food supply, and sustainable, with special benefits that you don’t get with other natural fibers.”