Dec 19, 2017 - A new bioplastic made from algae could replace oil-based plastic completely according to its inventors, potentially turning the manufacturing industry from a source of CO2 into a destroyer of the greenhouse gas writes Jesus Diaz for Fast Company. The designers behind the material imagine a world in which shops can locally produce all kinds of objects on demand, from plates to furniture, using 3D printers and the bioplastic. To demonstrate their material’s qualities, they’re producing it in small batches and using it to print designer products.
The Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros spent three years creating their biopolymer, trying to find a solution to the problems of synthetic plastic. The latter contributes heavily to global warming and, worse, it depends on a limited, non-renewable resource as its raw material. In addition to that, plastic products get ferried from large factories all over the world into distribution centers and, eventually, retail shops, further increasing their carbon footprint.
So Klarenbeek and Dros asked themselves: What if we could invent a material using locally-grown raw materials–and use it to enable a manufacturing and distribution process that remained local from start to finish?
Algae are highly effective biomass generators. They’re also easy to grow and they’re great CO2 processing machines–they take this gas out of the atmosphere and the sea and turn carbon molecules into starch through photosynthesis, releasing oxygen molecules into the atmosphere as a byproduct.
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