New plastics created

Scientists at the University of Sydney are creating more cost effective biodegradable PPC polymers.

The team of biomolecular engineerings, lead by Fariba Dehghani at the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies has begun a project to design a process for creating purified biodegradable, renewable and CO2 based PPC polymers.

According to the University, the new plastics will have a broad range of usability from fully recyclable plastic shopping bags through to restorative human implants.

“The project’s aim is to minimise reliance on fossil fuels and address the current problems with commercial production of sustainable bio plastics PPC starch not just in Australia but globally,” Dehghani said.

The team is currently focused on creating large scale solvent free technologies that reduce heavy metal levels used in PPC manufacture.

“The clean technologies we develop will make it possible to produce environmentally friendly plastics utilising 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 (VOCS),” she said.

“VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which can have short or long-term adverse health effects and are also potentially disastrous for our environment.”

The process is expected to have wide ranging impacts, particularly in reducing carbon emissions in countries where geologic storage of CO2 is impossible, Dehghani said.

The project is being funded by the Australian Research Council and CO2startch.

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