Is it possible to develop and apply components of biological origin in cosmetics? That is the key question the Interreg project InTiCosm wants to answer. After all, the challenge for the cosmetics industry is not only to look for natural alternatives that consumers accept, but also to develop cost-efficient innovative processes in order to subsequently implement these alternatives.

The fact that this Interreg project spans Flanders, Wallonia and France is no coincidence. After all, this region has a thriving bio-industry, characterised by a well-developed and well-established cosmetics sector. There are some 70 companies in the project zone. The InTiCosm project therefore expresses the shared will of the (involved) partners to cooperate across borders in the field of bio-economy of cosmetics.

The InTiCosm project focuses on the cross-border development of components of biological origin and their use in cosmetics. These components – which we call green carriers – are preferably developed on the basis of molecules of biological origin. These molecues originate mainly from biorefineries in the French-Belgian region. We have the Pomacle-Banzancourt biorefineries near Reims (the largest in Europe) and the Walloon company BioWanze, Belgium’s largest producer of bioethanol. During the synthesis of these carriers, the principles of green chemistry are fully respected. InTiCosm’s partners do this by limiting the use of green solvents and the number of synthetic steps in the production process.

One of these elements is that this project wants to study is the possibility of developing carriers that only release certain cosmetic substances when well-defined environmental parameters, such as a certain temperature, are met. Naturally, regulatory restrictions and cost price will be taken into account. After all, the new components must be competitive with existing components made from petroleum. This exercise will be carried out in France (By URCA Reims) and Flanders (by UGent).

The biological molecules found will be used in cosmetic formulations. The encapsulating capacity and the toxicity of the carriers wil be studied using high-tech methods. In this way we want to get an idea of the structure and reactivity that will determine which carriers can be retained. The ideal combination of effectiveness and price will be considered. This study will be carried out in France (University of Lille) and Wallonia (AgroBioTech Gembloux) respectively. After a synthesis on a larger scale by VITO and Certech (Centre de ressources technologiques en chimie), the carriers in the Interregzone France-Wallonia-Flanders can be industrially tested. 

Thanks to the support of spearhead clusters from Industries des Agro-Ressources (IAR), Greenwin and Catalisti, the flow of the acquired knowledge and products to the cross-border industrial network is promoted.

In the 'training' part, the focus is mainly on the master and doctoral level. Both the French and Belgian partners will work this out. The involvement and experience of Accustica will in turn facilitate communication with the general public. In this context, exhibitions, cases of experience and other visual media (secondary schools, colleges, cultural centres) will be considered.

About the partners of the Interreg project InTiCosm

Ten partners from Flanders, Wallonia and France support this project, led by the University of Reims (Fr). For Flanders, VITO, the UGent and Catalisti are involved. For Wallonia these are GreenWin, CerTech and ULiège. France participates with the universities of Reims and Lille, Accustica and the pôle IAR.

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