Crossing is an innovative SME, Spin-Off of the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, having as core business the development of new green chemicals and sustainable processes. The company core business and activities focus on:
- The development of the “know how” required to improve the environment sustainability of industrial practices to produce organic compounds.
- Ad hoc entrepreneurial projects, with public/private clients, for research and production of innovative, highly technological services.
- Activities related to ownership and/or licensing of its patents.
One of the key sectors of Crossing research is the leather industry and the development of new tanning technologies. The activity of Crossing researchers in this field is documented by articles, patents and conference proceedings. Crossing laboratories are equipped with reactors for the scale-up of the chemical modification of natural tannins from grams to 10 kg batch scale.
Thanks to its wide experience on industrial scale-up of chemicals production, Crossing will support Silvateam in the industrialisation of the project.
As Spin Off of Ca’ Foscari University, Crossing is highly specialised in public dissemination and stakeholder engagement by public events, publications, conferences and participates to regional networks which are potential stakeholder of LIFE I’M TAN.
Centro Ricerche per la Chimica Fine is a chemical laboratory carrying out several analytical and industrial R&D activities, based in San Michele Mondovì (Italy). CRCF is an independent company working exclusively for the Silvateam Group. Starting from 2007, CRCF has acquired a deep knowledge in natural and synthetic tannins, industrial oils and additives for animal and human nutrition. A team of technicians and researchers, experts in chemistry and chemical engineering, coordinates different services related to applied research, analytical assessments and quality control, with the aim of optimising different industrial processes.
The chemical laboratory covers a 400 m2 area and is equipped with state of the art machinary such as HPLC, FT-IR, UV-VIS, for physical-chemical analysis on raw materials, intermediates and finished products. In order to design new products and scale-up solutions, the 60 m2 pilot scale lab is equipped with a spray drier, as well as different reactors with a capacity ranging from 1 to 200 l.
CRCF’s staff, including many trainees and university scholars, offers an educational service also to Silvateam’s process operators and sales technicians. This facilitates the collaboration with several universities across Europe for different projects.
The role of CRCF in the LIFE I’M TAN project is to enable the scale-up and optimisation of the production processes for all the new CMNT tannins. CRCF will run a prototype production plant to deliver the batches needed by the other partners to make innovative leathers and benchmark them against the market standards.
Silvateam has been a world leader in the production of tannins since 1854. The company extracts these valuable molecules found in plants that nature has developed with incredible beneficial and functional characteristics. Silvateam is committed to providing natural solutions in multiple application fields such as leather tanning, the production of animal feed, wine and food, as well as agriculture, cosmetics and many other sectorts.
Headquartered in San Michele Mondovì (Italy), the company owns other production plants in Italy and South America, with several offices across all the continents. Besides natural tannins, in order to develop its core business related to leather tanning, Silvateam has long been producing synthetic tannins, special extracts, oils, fatliquors, tanning auxiliaries, resins, anionic dyes and beamhouse products, having also an in-house experimental tannery to make leather prototypes.
With a concern for the environment that stems from the design of its plants and the continuous innovation of its products, it has sought the resource saving in efficiency, trying to apply the simple rule of doing more with less. And this explains the paramount importance of the LIFE I’M TAN project for Silvateam, potentially impacting the most historical business of the company: the production of extracts for leather tanning. In this project, besides having the role of coordinator among the partners, Silvateam will be in charge for the production and characterization of the first leather prototypes made with CMNT, working with INCAS to adapt the recipes and develop the final articles. Moreover, the company will write the final Business Plan and will set up all the best practices to maximise the replicability and transferability of this new leather tanning process across the EU countries.
INCAS (acronym for Iniziative Conciarie ASsociate) is a tannery founded in 1972 that operates with three trademarks corresponding to three company divisions: the Incas, Italtan and Il Veliero brands, for the sale of leather for footwear, leather goods and apparel. The company has always been committed to sustainability: the various certifications that Incas has collected over time in the environmental, social and economic fields are proof of this.
The first tannery in Italy to obtain the certification of sustainability from ICEC (Institute of Quality Certification for the Leather Sector) and the first in Europe to obtain EMAS registration in 2007, this Tuscan company can also boast ISO 9001 quality management and ISO 14001 environmental management certifications since 2000. In 2008, moreover, it was the first Italian tannery to be able to display the ‘100% made in Italy’ certification, which guarantees that the entire production cycle is carried out in its own factories. Also worth mentioning are the TS410 and TS412 certifications concerning traceability and adherence to the UNIC Ethical Claim, to assure customers that all the hides used come from the food chain. In addition, Incas has certified an entirely metal-free process (Line 40075). Since 2016, it has also been LWG certified and holds the UNIC Social Accountability certificate.
In the LIFE I’M TAN project, INCAS will be producing the items using the new CMNT tanned leathers. The activity will be carried out with the ultimate goal of producing and determining the chemical and physical characteristics of the finished products and collecting environmental data for the life cycle analysis (LCA) and the life cycle cost analysis (LCC). The finished leather items will be handed over to stakeholders to evaluate the new chrome, formaldehyde and phenol-free leather. At the end of this activity, they will also receive guidelines for the use of LIFE I’M TAN products.
The leather waste will be used by INCAS in cooperation with the Silvateam to implement its reuse as a fertiliser.
Consorzio Aquarno SpA was founded in 1983 with the aim of solving the wastewater problem within the Tuscan Tanning District. Over the past 30 years, Aquarno has undergone continuous structural and technological evolution, with the aim of minimising environmental impacts and ensuring high purification efficiency.
The results of these activities find their best expression in the plant’s treatment capacity, which, to date, is around 2 million A.E. and 20,000 m3/gg of wastewater, making the Aquarno Consortium one of the most important treatment plants in Europe. While the treatment of civil wastewater is fairly standardised, most of the efforts in research and experimentation of innovative solutions, have been made on the treatment of industrial wastewater; this is because of the particular composition and recalcitrance to the purification of this type of wastewater. Thanks to the constant efforts of in-house staff and research projects funded both privately and publicly, Consorzio Aquarno has managed to develop optimised biological treatment with minimised chemical consumption.
Within the in-house analytical laboratory, the investigations, analyses and studies necessary for the evaluation of new tanning agents developed during the LIFE I’M TAN Project will be carried out. In particular, the influence of CMNTs on the activity of microorganisms used in the biological stages of purification will be investigated.