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Issue 05/2020

  • Text
  • Polyurethane
  • Textiles
  • Fibres
  • Carbon
  • Renewable
  • Plastics
  • Biobased
  • Sustainable
  • Packaging
  • Products
  • Materials
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Fibres & Textiles Polyurethanes / Elastomers Basics: Resorbable Biopolymers


Polyurethanes/Elastomers Algae-based PU-foam biodegrades in the environment A lgenesis (La Jolla Clifornia, USA) recently announced that their Soleic 52F bio-foam has proven to biodegrade in the natural environment and the results have been published in a Peer-Reviewed Science Paper. Scientists at Algenesis and UC San Diego have been collaborating to develop a sustainable solution to the growing problem of plastic pollution. The recent study, published in mid-Augustin Bioresource Technology Reports, highlights the team’s first success in creating a commercially deployable, fully biodegradable polyurethane product. “The paper shows that we can develop commercialquality foams that biodegrade in the natural environment,” said Stephen Mayfield—CEO of Algenesis and the senior author on the paper. “After hundreds of formulations, we finally achieved one that met commercial specifications. These foams are 52 % bio content—eventually, we’ll get to 100 % bio content.” This publication is just one in a list of analyses and testing that has been done, both internally, with the help of UCSD, and through third party, to validate the technology. Additional certifications and validations can be found on the website of Algenesis. Algenesis’ underlying core technology is a high quality, biodegradable polyurethane foam system with applications in a wide variety of markets. The technology is branded Soleic which means “sun oil”. The development of this Soleic 52F formulation took years of trial and error. The process involved rebuilding and rethinking formulation practices that have been around for decades, using new, novel monomers that were not direct drop-in replacements for petroleum monomers. The research and development resulted in a new ‘matrix’ of formulation knowledge which can be applied to future products across multiple industries. Including building insulations, foam cushioning in shoes, bedding, and automobiles, surfboards, skateboard wheels, and many other products that contain PU in some form. It is a market so extensive that it is expected to result in 12,000 tonnes of plastic in landfills or the natural environment by 2050. “People are coming around on ocean plastic pollution and starting to demand products that can address what has become an environmental disaster,” said Tom Cooke, President of Algenesis. “We happen to be at the right place at the right time.” The authors include Natasha Gunawan, Michael Burkart, Robert “Skip” Pomeroy, Ariel Schreiman, Ryan Simkovsky, Anton Samoylov, and Troy Bemis of UC San Diego. From Algenesis the authors include Stephen Mayfield, Marissa Tessman, and Nitin Neelakantan. The research was supported by grants from the Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (DE- SC0019986) and the National Science Foundation (1926937) to Algenesis Materials. MT 30 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/20] Vol. 15

Polyurethanes/Elastomers New Bioadhesives Toyochem Co., Ltd., a member of the Toyo Ink Group of Japan, based in Tokyo, recently developed two new partially biobased pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs). The two adhesives will be marketed under the Cyabine series of polyurethane PSAs, but are still in the developmental phase, and have not yet received product names for marketing purposes. They will simply be referred to as biodegradable adhesive and biomass adhesive here. Toyochem developed their biodegradable adhesive in response to environmental issues concerning industrial waste. Industrial waste, e.g. from civil engineering, forestry and agriculture, often has to be recovered or decomposed naturally without imposing a burden on the environment. However, even if most of the recovered products are biodegradable, the additives such as adhesives traditionally used to coat or treat them are not, resulting in disposal issues. The new adhesive by Toyochem, however, can be digested by soil microorganisms and converted over time into substances, such as carbon dioxide, water, nitrogen and methane gas and achieves a biomass content of 45 % (dry weight basis). Tests are promising, demonstrating biodegradation rates of 60 % or higher after 60 days. The biodegradability of the new PSAs has been confirmed under controlled composting conditions as prescribed by the Japanese Standards Association’s JIS K 6953-1 (equivalent to the ISO 14855-1 standard). The biodegradable adhesive is suitable for materials for the packaging, construction, agriculture and other industries where the use of biodegradable or recoverable materials are preferred. In contrast to the previous adhesive the biomass adhesive was developed for applications where biodegradability is not wanted, as it is not an added value. It builds on the industry’s first adhesives with 20 % bio-based content, released by Toyochem in 2018. The bio-based content of Toyochem’s newest adhesives are significantly higher, with 80 % for the company’s Cyabine series of polyurethane adhesives and 75 % for their Oribain series for acrylic adhesives. Both series also include a removable PSA composition with 10 % bio-based content, a feat that had been considered difficult to accomplish by using conventional biobased adhesives. The biomass adhesive are suitable for packaging, labels and tapes. The new adhesives are currently only available in Japan with a worldwide release to follow in the next few years. AT Stickers on a laptop, applied with pressure-sensitive adhesive (Photo: Adrian Lansdown, CC BY 2.0) bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/20] Vol. 15 31

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