Biomolecular engineers at the University of Sydney have created carbon dioxide-based polypropylene carbonate (PPC) polymers that they claim will transform the biodegradable polymer industry.
The solvent-free technology at the heart of the process will have a broad range of uses from recyclable shopping bags to medical implants, according to the team led by associate professor Fariba Dehghani from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
"The project's aim is to minimize reliance on fossil fuels and address the current problems with commercial production of sustainable bioplastic PPC starch, not just in Australia but globally," said Dehghani said.
The project is being funded by the Australian Research Council and Cardia Bioplastics through its subsidiary CO2Starch Pty. Ltd., which also has commercialization rights to the PPC process. The academic partnership will first look at medical application.
The outcomes of the project will have enormous significance for both our environment and human health, Dehghani said.
"The clean technologies we develop will make it possible to produce environmentally-friendly plastics utilizing waste CO2.
"Converting captured CO2 into products such as chemicals, plastics or other commodities is pivotal in our attempts to reduce the need for volatile organic compounds," Dehghani said.