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What's the Latest in Bioplastics Material Technology Solutions!

SpecialChem / Donald Rosato – Sep 23, 2011

Major chemical companies are making significant investments in new plants and technologies to produce plastics from annually renewable sources, not from petrochemicals. A page is being taken from the computer industry to spur innovation and drive biopolymers more widely into injection molding applications. NatureWorks is making formulation and compounding procedures for its high-heat resistant high impact bioresin Ingeo 3801X openly available. The world's first global bio-PET (polyethylene terephthalate) integrated supply chain is being established by Toyota Tsusho. While PLA meets the environmental test at the front end, it has faced an end-of-life issue: Newly formed PLA recycling company, BioCor LLC will become a major collector of post-consumer PLA waste, helping to close the PLA recycling loop. Purac and Arkema are collaborating to engineer functional lactide based block copolymers.

Korea’s Kaist University and LG Chem have developed an efficient bio-based one-step production process for PLA and its copolymers by combining metabolic engineering and enzyme engineering. Startup Micromidas is looking to produce PHA using carbon in sewage sludge as feedstock to make the plastic. This process can reduce the overall amount of sludge biomass by over 50%. A durable new high performance bioplastic developed by NEC and based on non-edible cellulose from plant stems and cardanol is suitable for plastic components for electronic equipment. NEC expects the new bioplastic to be commercialized by early 2013 at a price lower than PLA and competitive with petroleum based plastics. Cereplast Algae Plastic, a hybrid in which up to 50% of petroleum content used in traditional plastic resin is substituted with algae biomass, is in development.

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