The Technological Institute of Plastics in Spain (Aimplas), claims it is developing a fully biodegradable plastic produced entirely from wheat straw, which has the properties required to be used in the manufacture of white goods and household electronics.
The development of the bioplastic is being co-ordinated by Aimplas as part of ‘Bugworkers’, a 48-month long project involving 15 European companies including Fermax and the Basque technological centre, Tecnalia.
The bioplastic is produced from bacteria that are fed with sugars derived from wheat straw, with the cellulose fibres from the same residue being used to provide the necessary rigidity for the material’s use in electronic and electrical appliances.
Wheat straw is an agro-industrial residue, however, Aimplas states within this project it will considerably reduce the manufacturing cost of a biodegradable plastic and therefore increase its value. The wheat straw was chosen for its low cost and its high availability, especially in Central Europe.
So far the Bugworkers project has achieved good results with regards to process efficiency and therefore will be produced on an industrial scale. Aimplas states the results will lead to further discussions regarding cost and competitive properties.
"We need high performance in the process of synthesis of bioplastic by using bacteria to be able to talk about a competitive product in terms of costs, and the Bugworkers project is getting very positive results in this respect,” said Ana Espert, Technical Coordinator of the project at Aimplas.