Biopolymers in packaging applications by Pira International Ltd

By Pira International Ltd

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However, various investments by multinational businesses and strategic alliances have been made with the aim of resolving such issues over the outlook period. For example, Shell and HR Biopetroleum created a joint venture, Cellana, to build an algae plant in Hawaii. Also, Dow Chemical established an alliance with Algenol for the latter to produce relatively low cost ethanol directly from CO2 and seawater using hybrid algae in sealed, clear plastic photobioreactors. Furthermore, BP invested approximately $10 million in a joint venture with Martek Biosciences to research large scale algae production.

Sun Chemical’s hybrid biodegradable inks are used to reverse print Innovia’s NatureFlex film, which is then laminated using a biodegradable adhesive. Alesco, based in Germany, reported in October 2009 its development of a compostable shrink film designed for use as an outer packaging layer for drinks. 5 litre PET and PLA drinks bottles, although the company reported plans to extend the range to include other sizes. The film, tested by the soft drinks bottler SDI, uses a carbon neutral manufacturing process and can optionally be printed with water colours according to a given customers requirements.

The result is a nanocomposite that is highly efficient in In the field of biopolymers, Toray Industries, Inc. has developed a flexible PLA film using its own nanostructure control technology for biaxially oriented films. The new film avoids a common problem associated with PLA of loss of transparency and heat resistance, by achieving sufficient flexibility to enable it to be used in packaging. However, regulations concerning nanotechnology are still being drawn up in Europe and the European Parliament’s environment committee called for products containing nanotechnology to be removed from the market and re-assessed.

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