New cleaner polypropylene carbonate (PPC) polymers that promise to transform the biodegradable polymer industry are being created by biomolecular engineers at the University of Sydney.
The plastics will be used for fully recyclable shopping bags and also as restorative implants in the human body.
A project has been commenced by a team led by associate professor Fariba Dehghani from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies to design a process for creating purified biodegradable, renewable and CO2 based PPC polymers.
Large scale solvent free technologies are being developed by the team, which are expected to reduce the levels of heavy metal used in PPC.
The project has been funded by both the Australian Research Council and bioplastics company Cardia Bioplastics through its 100% owned subsidiary CO2Startch.
The clean technologies developed will enable to produce environmentally friendly plastics using waste CO2.
Professor Dehghani said that the project’s aim is to cut down dependence on fossil fuels and address the existing problems with commercial production of sustainable bio plastics starch globally, in addition to Australia.
"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)," Dehghani said.