Companies partner to make bioplastics from carbon dioxide

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CUPERTINO, CALIF. (July 17, 11:40 p.m. ET) — Is there a material that can’t be used to make bioplastics?

In the latest example of scientific puzzle-solving, bioplastics have been made by using electricity and flue gas from a cement plant in Cupertino.

The project was a collaboration between technology firm Oakbio Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Lehigh Southwest Cement Co. of Cupertino. Lehigh Southwest is a unit of global construction materials firm Heidelberg Cement Group.

The carbon conversion process used at the cement plant yielded over 50 percent bioplastics in microbe biomass, Oakbio chief scientist Brian Sefton said in a July 10 news release. “The type of plastic we make is not only renewable, but biodegradable as well,” he added.

The conversion of captured carbon dioxide into a bioplastic product “represents an important technical achievement for potential large-scale bioplastics production,” Sefton said in the release.

Oakbio CEO Russell Howard added that his firm’s technology “can answer multiple needs,” including replacement of petroleum oil-derived plastics with biodegradable renewable products.”