Cereplast, a leading manufacturer of proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable bioplastics, is advancing in the research and development stage in preparation to bring to the market a more sustainable and cost efficient process for the development of algae bioplastic resins.
By using an algae biomass selection process in which food-based materials are not fed to the algae for growth, the food chain is not impacted, increasing sustainability. The material is also expected to lower costs in algae bioplastics development by deploying post-industrial processes, enabling the re-use of materials.
Algaeplast, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cereplast, develops algae-based bioplastics, leveraging post-industrial processes such as nutrient recovery from effluent waste streams and from carbon dioxide sequestration systems.
As the algae biomass derived from these processes have already served a primary purpose, the secondary use of the material results in cost savings and increased efficiency due to material re-usage. In addition, Algaeplast does not use algae fed with food-based materials for growth.
“In a world in which the population is growing at a fast pace and demand for food and feedstock are on the rise, the use of feedstock for non-food purposes is often debated,” said Frederic Scheer, Chairman and CEO of Cereplast. “A typical biofuel company will use a fermentation process that grows algae fast and with a high lipid content, but uses sugar as the carbon source. Cereplast’s future family of bioplastics will leverage an algae source rich in ingredients suitable for plastic development, but also has no effect on the food chain, resulting in a sustainable and population conscious plastic alternative.”
Algaeplast has four demonstration grades of algae in polypropylene with an algae biomass content from 15% to 51%. A newly commercialized grade includes algae in a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE). These grades show the ability for Algaeplast to formulate with algae biomass in TPE, polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene (PE), Ethylene Acrylate (EA), and other polymers. The ability to make algae biomass compatible in polymers has been practiced by Cereplast for several
Scheer added, “Cereplast is committed to being at the forefront of algae bioplastics development as we see tremendous demand and opportunity for this type of resin.”
The materials Algaeplast is working on are expected to become available in the second half of 2016.