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Issue 03/2015

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Application News Rubber

Application News Rubber seals made of Bio-EPDM Specialty chemicals company LANXESS (Cologne, Germany) provides its innovative bio-based Keltan Eco EPDM rubber to Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. This well-known global manufacturer of seals and vibration control technology products recently started to produce rubber seals made of Keltan Eco EPDM at its North American affiliate. Keltan Eco EPDM (ethylene-propylenediene monomer) rubber contains up to 70 % of ethylene obtained from sugarcane, and has an impressive set of properties that is in no way inferior to that of conventional EPDM. The bio-renewable rubber compound, for which development at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies already began in 2012, addresses the constantly increasing standards on CO2 footprint reduction, especially in the automotive industry, and the overall global pull for more sustainable industrial solutions. Joe Walker, Global Director Advanced Materials Development at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, explains: “We had been working with polymer suppliers for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, but the polymer offerings lacked the specific characteristics we needed for our advanced manufacturing processes. So we initiated a project to research the area, and we were able to develop a material that can be used in our next generation injection molding process.” Applications for the rubber compound based on Keltan Eco polymers include seals for coolants, steam, synthetic hydraulic fluids, brake fluids and aerospace hydraulic fluids. The newly developed material is capable of withstanding temperatures up to 150 °C, and the material has outstanding compressive stress force retention. MT The World’s first plant-based durable bottles ZAZA Bottles are the first refillable water bottles made from a plant-based polymer. They’re also the only customizable ones as they promote a fusion of fashion & sustainability. The Prague-based startup launched their Kickstarter campaign in late May. Zuzana Cabejskova, the founder of ZAZA has long been involved in the topic of sustainable hydration. She started an NGO called Czech The Tap in 2010 to promote tap water among Czech restaurants and citizes. The NGO’s blind-tasting experiments were a huge success: “Over 2 thousand people participated and 80% couldn’t tell the difference between tap and bottled water.” As an Industrial Ecologist, Zuzana Cabejskova also insisted that the bottle be as sustainable as possible. “We’re introducing the first plant-based bottle to really show we’re serious about circular economy. The transparent part is made of a 50% bioC PA and we’re still looking for a supplier for the non-transparent parts, preferably that would be a close-to 100% biosolution.” Disposable gloves B.GLOVE, disposable gloves made from a biodegradable film are a high quality product, as stated in a press release by glove machine manufacturer CIBRA from Cernusco sul Naviglio, Italy. The softness of such gloves, their breathability, the pureness of their composition make these gloves suitable for food handling, for use in pharmaceutical and chemical industries, for wellness treatments, and in many other applications. Biodegradable gloves can become organic waste and will be totally degraded in compost in a short time. The machine manufacturer states that it can be expected that the same rule could soon be applied to gloves, e.g. in the fruit/vegetable area of supermarkets, in the veterinary, medical and food handling fields, and in wellness centres, where plastic gloves are still used. The MaterBi gloves offer a perfect alternative to conventional plastic gloves because they can be collected together with other organic waste and converted into compost. B.GLOVE is a result of many years of development: from the first semiautomatic machine for disposable gloves that Cibra presented at PLAST 1968, from the first experiences on Mater-Bi films at PLAST 2003, from the last two year experience in producing full time biodegradable Mater-Bi gloves for innovative customers. MT 28 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/15] Vol. 10

Applications World’s first algae-based surfboard Photo courtesy Eric Jepsen University of California San Diego’s efforts to produce innovative and sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental problems have resulted in a partnership with the region’s surfing industry to create the world’s first algae-based, sustainable surfboard. The surfboard was publicly unveiled and presented in early may, the day before Earth Day, to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer at San Diego Symphony Hall. The project began several months ago at UC San Diego when undergraduate students were working on a precursor of the polyurethane foam core of a surfboard from algae oil. Polyurethane surfboards today are made exclusively from petroleum. Students from the laboratories of Michael Burkart, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Robert “Skip” Pomeroy, a chemistry instructor who helps students recycle waste oil into a biodiesel that powers some UC San Diego buses, first determined how to chemically change the oil obtained from laboratory algae into different kinds of polyols. Mixed with a catalyst and silicates in the right proportions, these polyols expand into a foam-like substance that hardens into the polyurethane that forms a surfboard’s core 1 . The effort to produce the surfboard was headed by Stephen Mayfield, a professor of biology and algae geneticist at UC San Diego. To obtain additional high-quality algae oil, Mayfield, who directs UC San Diego’s California Center for Algae Biotechnology, or “Cal-CAB,” called on Solazyme, Inc. The California-based biotech, which produces renewable, sustainable oils and ingredients, supplied a gallon of algae oil to make the world’s first algae-based surfboard blank. After some clever chemistry at UC San Diego, Arctic Foam successfully produced and shaped the surfboard core and glassed it with a coat of fiberglass and renewable resin. Although the board’s core is made from algae, it is pure white and indistinguishable from most plain petroleumbased surfboards. That’s because the oil from algae, like soybean or safflower oils, is clear. Photo courtesy Arctic Foam “In the future, we could make the algae surfboards ‘green’ by adding a little color from the green algae to showcase their sustainability,” said Mayfield. “But right now we wanted to make it as close as we could to the real thing.” Mayfield said that, like other surfers, he has long been faced with a contradiction: His connection to the pristine ocean environment requires a surfboard made from petroleum. “As surfers more than any other sport, you are totally connected and immersed in the ocean environment,” he explained. “And yet your connection to that environment is through a piece of plastic made from fossil fuels.” But now, he explained, surfers can have a way to surf a board that, at least at its core, comes from a sustainable, renewable source. “In the future, we’re thinking about 100 % of the surfboard being made that way – the fiberglass will come from renewable resources, the resin on the outside will come from a renewable resource,” Mayfield said. “This shows that we can still enjoy the ocean, but do so in an environmentally sustainable way,” he added. KL, MT Info: 1) From algae oil to polyurethane Robert “Skip” Pomeroy explains it this way: The algae oil is a chemical mixture of Triacylglycerides (TAGs). This consists of a glycerol backbone and three fatty acid chains. The fatty acid chains in algae based TAGs have points of unsaturation (double bonds). These double bonds can be reacted to create OH or alcohol functionality where the double bond used to be. Because there are multiple double bonds within the TAG, you can create multiple OH groups, hence the term polyol (many alcohols, many OHs). When a polyol is reacted with a diisocyanate you create multiple urethane bonds, hence polyurethane. The precise formula of the polyurethane foam is a trade secret of Artic foam that creates the foam with the right density, flexibility and cell size to meet there expectations as a substitute for the petroleum polyol. We control the chemistry through the reagent balance, temperature of the reaction and the time. bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/15] Vol. 10 29

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