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Issue 05/2015

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Material news Flexible

Material news Flexible foams with algae Algix LLC (Meridian, Mississippi, USA), the world’s leading producer of algae bio-products, and Effekt LLC (San Diego, California, USA), an environmentally minded product and material development company, recently announced the creation of the world’s first flexible foams using algae derived products as a filler. “Flexible foams have been overwhelmingly made out of nonrenewable petrochemicals for decades,” says Rob Falken, Effekt’s and Bloom Holding’s Managing Director. “Over the past year we’ve worked really hard to create a suitable algae biomass alternative that doesn’t compromise performance and that delivers tried–and– true characteristics for all sorts of demanding applications” he continued. The foam is produced in a patented process that utilizes Algix’s dried algae biomass (GMO-free) which is solely collected from waste streams across the US and Asia. Algal blooms have become prevalent worldwide due to a rise in global temperatures and a subsequent increase in water temperatures. They’ve also been impacted by increased human population growth and from activities like overfishing, which have increased nutrient loading in waterways. The algae biomass is first collected in custom built mobile harvesting platforms. A harvester is deployed to ponds or lakes where it converts the green water into an algae dense slurry. From there the slurry is dewatered and tertiary thermal drying is employed. Once sufficiently dried, the algae biomass is ready for compounding (in amounts of 15 – 60 %) with a base resin (such as PVA, PE, TPE etc.) into pellets before it is eventually expanded into a flexible foam with additional foaming compounds. As a feedstock, algae biomass is a non-food resource, requiring no pesticides to grow and is found in abundance globally. This ensures a consistent and stable raw material supply for years to come. “We are literally turning a negative into a positive,” stated Falken. Utilizing an examined approach, Bloom Holdings LLC (a JV of both companies) has already secured an independent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for the flexible foams, as well as numerous certificates of environmental validation. The brand name for this new flexible foam is aptly called BLOOM. Manufacturing will commence in early 2016 in both the US and Asia. Several ideal applications for Bloom foam are footwear, yoga mats, sporting goods, and toys just to name a few. MT · · Coffee Based 3D Printer Filament Filament manufacturer 3Dom USA has released a new bio-material made from coffee. Called Wound Up, the filament is a continuing partnership with Fargo, North Dakota based bio-composite company, c2renew. The material is made using waste byproducts from coffee. Wound Up uses those coffee leftovers to create a special 3D printing material with visibly unique print finishes. The filament produces products with a rich brown color and a noticeable natural grain. Now a cup printed with Wound Up is a true “coffee cup.” This is the first in a line of intriguing materials from 3Dom USA called the c2renew Composites. More distinctive bio-based products will be released in the near future. Wound Up filament can be printed on any machine capable of printing with PLA and comes perfectly spooled on the 100 % biobased Eco-Spool. Beautifully packed and vacuum-sealed to keep moisture out. Each spool of Wound Up has the diameter and ovality metrics posted right on the box, so you know that tolerances are tight. MT Info Videoclip: 24 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/15] Vol. 10

Material news New biobased polyol for 2K polyurethanes BASF has announced that it has added a new product to its range of bio-based polyols, sold under the Sovermol trademark. These products are used for manufacturing extremely low-emission 2K polyurethane coatings for interior and exterior applications. The newest member of the Sovermol portfolio – Sovermol 830 – is targeted at indoor floorings, e. g. in industrial warehouses or sports halls, providing excellent hardening and mechanical characteristics even under difficult conditions. As the resin is produced from renewable raw material (castor oil with a renewable content of more than 90 %) and contains no volatile organic compounds (VOC), it greatly contributes to the production of more sustainable coatings with particularly high levels of stability and durability. Due to a specific chemical modification, the complex polyether-ester polyol has excellent water-repellent properties. It exhibits excellent curing properties, even in challenging curing environments with high humidity and temperature. Due to its high filling levels and low processing viscosity, Sovermol 830 helps to lower the overall cost of a formulation. In addition, the shore D hardness of this thermoplastic material exceeds 60. Despite the extended processing time of Sovermol 830, the material can be walked on after one day only, which ensures shorter downtimes and, consequently, lower costs. The polyol can be used in coatings for industrial floorings, coatings exposed to potable water and semi-structural adhesives. Apart from its excellent abrasion and impact resistance, the product shows outstanding flexibility even at low temperatures, which prevents cracks from spreading in the substrate. It is therefore the ideal solution for durable coatings. BASF offers coatings producers appropriate highperformance additives that can be combined with Sovermol 830. In addition, the company’s portfolio comprises suitable cross-linkers and co-binders that enable customers to achieve the required mechanical properties.KL PLA production using alternative energies and no metal catalyst Reflecting the ongoing growing demand for more sustainable solutions, production capacities for bioplastics are also expanding in order to keep pace with market developments. Currently, however, metal-containing catalysts are needed to improve the polymerisation rate of lactones, posing a potential hazard to health and the environment. The Plastics Technology Center, AIMPLAS (Valencia, Spain), along with eleven other enterprises and technological European centres, has launched the InnoREX project, which is being financed by the 7 th Framework Program funds and coordinated by the German Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology - ICT. This ambitious project seeks to develop a new technology to improve the homogeneity of PLA and to find an alternative to the use of the metallic catalysts that have been necessary until now. Moreover, the new process being studied within the scope of the project is expected to yield energy savings; an additional goal is the development of a single monolayer packaging able to be processed using both extrusion and injection moulding technology. To ensure short market entry times, commercially wellestablished co-rotating twin screw extruders will be used as reaction vessels. The reason commercial polymerisations are not yet carried out in twin screw extruders is the short residence time and the static energy input of the extruder, which allows no dynamic control of the reaction. These obstacles will be overcome in InnoREX: the project will use the rapid response time of microwaves, ultrasound and laser light to achieve a precisely-controlled and efficient continuous polymerisation of high molecular weight PLA in a twin screw extruder. Significant energy savings will be achieved by combining polymerisation, compounding and shaping in one production step. The project also includes a detailed analysis of the packaging life cycle. The prototype obtained as a result will be a single thinwalled monolayer packaging (wall thicknesses of a millimetre or less) intended for the food sector, processed through injection or extrusion to obtain a thermoforming and film packaging to be used when lower wall thicknesses are required. The role of AIMPLAS within the project is mainly related to the study of processability (injection and extrusion) of developed PLA grades. Mechanical, physical and thermal characterisation of prepared packages by injection moulding, and extrusion cast-sheet and thermoforming. It will also include an extensive development of additivation strategies. The project, which started in December 2012, will run until May 2016. In addition, Aimplas will organize on October 20 th a workshop at their premises, addressed to suppliers of raw materials, end users, researcher centres and universities and it will be focused on the project main objectives and its developments. · bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/15] Vol. 10 25

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