New bioplastic options are springing up all over! Corn is probably the most common material for creating plant-based plastic, but we're learning that corn plastics have their challenges. Scientists are also making some great strides in developing plastics made from sugars and even mud. Bioplastic company Cereplast is soon going to be rolling out a plastic made using algae, and it could be a game changer!
What's excellent about algae as a "feedstock" for plastic production is that it absorbs more CO2 than it releases. Not only can this algae be used to create plastics, Cereplast is talking about algae-based biofuels, too. According to William Kelly, the head of Cereplast’s algae to plastics development:
...the use of algae as a feedstock for plastics allows us to go full circle: the very substance that can absorb and minimize CO2 and polluting gases from the industrial process can also be turned into sustainable, renewable plastic products and biofuels while reducing our use of fossil fuels.
Sounds pretty awesome, right? The only catch with using algae as a CO2 sink is that it works best when grown in an open pond. Cereplast hasn't mentioned if they'll be using an open or closed system for production.
They're also in talks with some companies to strategically place the algae "farms" near factories to help absorb the CO2 released from their smokestacks. In this case, it would probably be safe to assume that they'd place open ponds to maximize the algae's CO2-munching power.
Cereplast expects this new algae plastic to replace 50% of the content in "traditional plastic resins." If this took off, that could mean a huge reduction in petroleum use for plastic production!
The company says its algae-based plastic will be ready for market by the end of this year.
[h/t Clean Technica]
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Opera Nut