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Issue 04/2019

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Materials
  • Biobased
  • Products
  • Plastics
  • Biocomposites
  • Biodegradable
  • Carbon
  • Germany
  • Properties
Highlights: Blowmoulding Composites Basics: Home Composting Cover Story: Cove PHA Bottles

Biocomposites Strategic

Biocomposites Strategic partnership to boost natural fiber reinforced biopolymers Spectalite, located in Heidelberg, Germany with its manufacturing unit in Quzhou, Zhejiang, PR China, is a global supplier of different natural fiber reinforced material compounds and sheets for applications in the automotive, personal care, houseware, agriculture and gardening industry. Spectalite is manufacturing durable grades with traditional thermoplastics (Spectadur) as well as biodegradable and biobased materials (Spectabio). These are available as compounds and sheets. All grades are either reinforced with mechanically extracted, performance bamboo fibers, rice husk, wheat straw/husk or other natural fibers; they are available for injection, extrusion, thermoforming and press molding processes. Evegreen, located in Mislinja, Slovenia, is a supplier of biodegradable products across different industries. Evegreen recently launched a series of biodegradable plant pots in soil targeting different gardening centers and chains all over Europe. Seeing a great demand in their natural fiber reinforced, biodegradable products, the company is now scaling up to meet industrial production using Spectalite materials. Spectalite and Evegreen decided to enter into a strategic co-operation to boost biodegradable applications substituting single-use traditional plastic parts. Joint European operations are planned to be set-up in Slovenia, the center of Europe. Both companies will jointly invest into materials R&D, application development, material compounding and part molding. Initial focus will be gardening, agricultural and hydroponics applications. Both companies won international awards for their solutions. Traditional, non-biodegradable thermoplastics are widely used in gardening and agricultural applications to increase crop yield and to ensure food security. Singleuse applications are including flower pots, plant pots, root trainers, etc. Hydroponics is a fast-rising sector in the agricultural industry with most of the hydroponic reservoirs currently being built of single-use plastic pots; thousands and thousands of additional non-biodegradable thermoplastic containers are polluting the environment every day, from an industry that wants to be eco-friendly, clean and sustainable. The substitution of non-biodegradable plastics with biodegradable polymers in these applications promises to effectively reduce the constantly rising non-degradable plastics accumulation in the environment. The use of biodegradable polymers and their products in the gardening, agricultural and hydroponics industry is still very limited; inadequate properties, difficult processability, limited raw material supply, new supply chains, lack of understanding and experience and especially high material costs of biopolymers are still restricting the use of biodegradable materials. Spectalite and Evegreen´s fiber reinforcements in carefully designed material formulations do not only improve the mechanical performance of the final part, they also help to adjust the speed of biodegradation to customer expectations. Finally, the reinforcements decrease the material price significantly compared to similar materials that are made out of biodegradable polymers. Only when gardening products, like plant or hydroponic pots, come with a really attractive price, end customers will accept ecofriendly solutions on a mainstream scale. MT www.bioplasticpot.com | www.spectalite.eu 40 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/19] Vol. 14

Biocomposites PLA based WPC Biocomposites of PLA and Wood- Thailand’s new material Biocomposites are considered new materials in Thailand’s industry and markets. Thailand has been working with both plastics and wood but until now they are completely different sectors of the industry and market. Several products are made from plastic whereas wood is generally used for furniture. Different sorts of wood are grown in Thailand, e.g. teak, rosewood, mahogany and parawood, to name just a few. This wood is used for making high value furniture while the residues are discarded as waste of no value. Now this wood waste is being ground into Wood flour and added to mouldings, e.g. for floorings. Wood floorings are considered high value products because they still retain the look of wood. Wood plastic composites are now entering the home and furniture markets in Thailand. As of yet, they are a composite of plastic, mainly PVC with wood powder. Popular applications of these plastic and wood composites are door frames, floor and wall decorations, but also kitchen ware. These composites look like wood and are thus considered novel products. Biocomposites of wood and biobased plastics are practically unknown until today. Because of the local production of PLA in Thailand, the plastic industry is now developing new products using these environmentally friendly bioplastics. With abundant supplies of wood powder from varieties of wood, the biocomposites with PLA and wood open up a new market. The big advantage is, that both PLA and wood are from renewable agricultural resources. Wood powder by itself has no commercial value. On the other hand, PLA is still produced in small quantities, the cost is still high. By adding low cost wood powder to the PLA the cost can be reduced, creating aesthetic and environmentally friendly products. Global Biopolymers (Bangkok, Thailand) has been developing such biocomposites of wood and PLA. Initial applications can be found in different injection molded and extruded products. Among the products made from these PLA/wood composites are cutlery and home decoratives. Global Biopolymer is using wood powder from teak, rosewood, parawood for the production of its biocomposites. This wood powder made from waste from the furniture industry. The waste is being milled into powder, compounded with PLA in a compounding and pelletizing line. Other sorts of wood as well as cellulose are under development. Among them are bamboo, rice husk and pineapple fiber. MT www.globalbiopolymers.com Cutlery made from Teak+PLA ; Rosewood+PLA; Parawood+PLA Pellets of wood + PLA for injection/extrusion molding Home decoratives made from Teak+PLA, Rosewood+PLA bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/19] Vol. 14 41

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