Industrial Engineering

The Biology of Tomorrow’s Plastics

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ISE Magazine – Volume 48 : Number 12

Researchers aiming to replace oil with vegetable components 

A new combination of components is yielding a bio-based polymer that is biodegradable and has antimicrobial properties. A lab in Spain extracted biopolymers from agricultural waste, mixed them with nanoadditives and melted them at 200 degrees Celsius to develop a new bioplastic. The material is better than conventional plastics. The main innovation is the use of bio-based polymers that come from biomass, like sugars, so it’s biodegradable. Using this process, we can give this material new uses, it has antimicrobial properties, which are good for use in healthcare.

The goal is to replace oil with vegetable components to curb the use of fossil fuels and develop the ecofriendly and smart plastic packaging of tomorrow. That’s our role as a technological research center, to bridge the gap between the science and the industrial applications, to simplify bringing the innovations to the plants and to the market. The innovations include integrating sensors and communication devices. So perhaps your biodegradable bottle of tomorrow can alert you if the milk has spoiled.