Algae-Based Plastic To Be Available by End of the Year

by Tanya Thomas on  May 4, 2010 at 10:31 AM Environmental Health   - G J E 4
If only algae could substitute all the plastic that surrounds us - right from polythene bags to keyboards - the world could be so much greener.

Fortunately for us, a California-based company is doing just that.
 Algae-Based Plastic To Be Available by End of the Year
Algae-Based Plastic To Be Available by End of the Year

Bioplastic maker Cereplast is putting their algae plastic prototype to the test.

A few years ago, Frederic Scheer, the founder and CEO of Cereplast noticed that algae was getting buzz for its potential as a fuel source.

About 18 months ago, he got the dry biomass leftover once the oil had been extracted and got to work.

Cereplast dries the biomass even further until it becomes a powder, reports Discovery News.

And for this stage of development, they are making a hybrid prototype.

Organic ingredients and polypropylene or another traditional resin is mixed with between 35 and 50 percent algae powder using a proprietary process.

"It's exactly like a traditional material-fairly strong, presents strengths similar to the equivalent with starch-based materials," said Scheer.

He added that it also has a high heat tolerance.

Initially, the algae plastic had a strong fishy smell, but the company has figured out how to get rid of that.

Their goal is to bring the hybrid to the market by the end of the year, either November or December.

A version that's 100 percent algae-and entirely compostable- could be ready within three to five years.

While developing the plastic, Cereplast is also determining how this plastic mix could be recycled effectively.

Using algae wouldn't affect food crops the way other bioplastics made from corn and starches could if they were massively scaled up. The process complements algae fuel production instead of competing with it.

Scheer said that artificially-grown high-yield algae crops can be harvested after two months.

This would mean that even in small batches, the cost per pound of algae plastic is expected to beat out traditional plastics, too.

Source: ANI

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