Thursday, March 28, 2013

Teknor Apex at Interwire 2013: To Unveil Rubber-like Medical Grade TPE Wire & Cable Compounds

Three new thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) wire and cable compounds from Teknor Apex Company combine the rubber-like durability and flexibility valued by hospital and clinical professionals and the high degree of purity required for meeting stringent medical standards, the company recently announced. Teknor Apex will introduce the compounds at Interwire 2013, April 22-25, (Booth 406).

Medalist® 8421, 8431, and 8451 elastomers can be used for insulation, jacketing, and molded fittings and connectors. They have Shore A hardness levels of 92, 69, and 82, respectively, a flammability classification of HB (UL-94), and a maximum continuous operating temperature rating of 105 °C (UL-1581). The three compounds retain high levels of tensile strength, tensile modulus, and elongation after autoclave, gamma irradiation, and EtO sterilization. They are resistant to the cleaning solutions commonly used in medical facilities.

The new TPEs are analogs to specific Elexar® non-medical wire and cable compounds from Teknor Apex and provide comparable properties, but they are manufactured in an ISO-13485 facility dedicated to Medalist medical elastomers. Medalist® 8421, 8431, and 8451 compounds pass ISO-10993-5 cytotoxicity testing, are RoHS- and REACH- compliant, and are free of animal-derived materials, phthalates, and latex proteins.

"The new Medalist elastomers for wire and cable provide rubber-like toughness and elasticity and, unlike rubber, are readily recycled," said Keith Saunders, senior market manager for the Thermoplastic Elastomer Division of Teknor Apex. "As alternatives to PVC, Medalist compounds exhibit practical handling advantages in surgical or clinical settings, including superior 'drapability' for reduced cable clutter, better elastic memory in coil cords, and a softer, more supple feel."

Source: Teknor Apex

A*STAR Researchers Develop Process to Convert Biomass into PLA Feedstock for Biomedical Products

Powered by sunlight, microalgae are tiny biofuel generators that soak up carbon dioxide to produce energy-rich lipids, which are showing promise as a potential source of clean energy. Maximizing lipid production is the focus of many research efforts, but the material remaining after lipid extraction has caught the attention of Md. Mahabubur Rahman Talukder and his co-workers at the A*STAR Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences. Currently, this 'lipid-depleted biomass' is either burned for energy, or simply discarded as a waste product. Talukder and his team have developed a process that turns this material into a valuable chemical feedstock.

The researchers have pioneered a two-step biochemical process that converts lipid-depleted biomass into lactic acid. This substance is in increasing demand as a feedstock for polylactic acid (PLA), a biopolymer with numerous medical applications, ranging from surgical sutures to orthopedic implants. The high cost of raw materials used in the manufacture of lactic acid currently limits PLA use. Thus, producing an alternative source from algal lipid-extraction waste is proving attractive. Generating two valuable products from the algae, specifically the microalgae Nannochloropsis salina, would spread the costs of microalgae production, making the biofuel more cost-competitive with conventional fuels.

To produce both lipid and lactic acid from N. salina, Talukder and his co-workers first subjected the microalgae to an acid hydrolysis pre-treatment step. This process broke down the organisms' polysaccharide-based cell walls into simple sugars, while releasing the lipid for extraction. The researchers also systematically examined different acid concentrations, reaction times and temperatures. They identified that treatment for 1 hour at 120 °C maximizes sugar and lipid production.

When Talukder and his co-workers extracted the lipid at this point, the lipid-depleted biomass, now rich in sugars remained. They converted this material into lactic acid by fermentation. The team then added the bacterium Lactobacillus pentosus, which consumed the sugars over a 48-hour period, to generate the lactic acid.

The researchers found that, to maximize lactic acid production, they first had to remove metal ions from the mixture. Microalgae harvesting typically involves an iron chloride treatment, but the residual iron appeared to inhibit fermentation. "One of the next steps in our research will be to develop a chemical-free microalgae harvesting method so that fermentation will not be negatively affected," Talukder says. The researchers are also screening different bacterial strains for higher lactic acid productivity, and developing their current two-step process into a single-step operation.

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences

Source: A*STAR Research

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Natureplast & Biopolynov Develop Customized Bioplastics Formulations from Seaweed

Natureplast, a French company specialized in bioplastics, has developed with its daughter company, Biopolynov, a brand new range of bioplastics made from non-food resources.

Established in late 2006, Natureplast is still the only company in Europe to supply European industries with bio plastics produced throughout the world. Natureplast's expansion led us to expand expertise with the creation of Biopolynov in 2010, the first research and development laboratory in Europe dedicated to bio plastics. This new division aims to modify and improve bio plastics' properties according to a functional book of specifications.

For more than ten years, the bio plastics market has been experiencing strong growth (20% per year). This growth comes from the continued development of new materials/additives and the creation of new production units throughout the World. However, today's bio plastics materials cannot always fulfill market demand.

To resolve this lack, Biopolynov develops customized formulations that meet processing and use constraints of the bio plastics produced for manufacturers (extruded wrap, injected/ thermoformed/ blowed parts.

Since 2010, in order to find alternatives to raw materials currently used (cereals/sugar...), Biopolynov has been developing new innovative bio plastics made from vegetative resources like seaweed or co-products of food-processing (olive seed powder??, resources that aren't in competition with food use. Biopolynov's formulation know-how has allowed developing bio based and bio degradable substitutes to conventional polymers like polypropylene for injection molding or thermoforming markets.

These new steps are intermediate stages while waiting for the second generation of bio plastics totally made from seaweed, cellulose, food waste and are scheduled to arrive on the market in 5 to 10 years' time.

Source: Natureplast

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Breville Promotes Green Practices by Offering Cardia’s Compostable Juicer Bags as Juicer Accessory

Breville Group, a global designer and manufacturer of small kitchen appliances will purchase and market Cardia's compostable "juicer bags" as part of its Juicer accessory offering to consumers.
Cardia announced that Breville Group Limited, one among the global designers and manufacturers of small kitchen appliances will purchase and market Cardia's compostable "juicer bags" as part of its Juicer accessory offering to consumers.
The agreement is expected to generate strong sales for Cardia and the launch follows on from Cardia's ASX announcement made on the 21st of August 2012.
Breville is a leader in juicer sales and has launched the compostable "juicer bags" in packs of 30, for sale.

Breville's launch in the USA has implemented the 100% compostable "the Clean & Green™" juicer pulp bag, with its Juice Fountain® range of juice extractors to encourage environmentally-friendly waste disposal practices.
Breville's USA Category Manager for Food Prep, Michelle Smith-Aiken said: "We recognized that consumers are always looking for even faster clean-up when they're using a juicer and that most were using their produce bags in their pulp bins to help with the clean-up. We saw this as an unhealthy disposal of plastic and wanted to come up with a more environmentally responsible way. The Clean & Green™ juicer bags are the solution for a faster clean up while providing a fully compostable — biodegradable option to dispose of the pulp.
Cardia's Chairman Mr. Pat Volpe said: "Partnering with a global consumer products company such as Breville on this project and the successful launch by Breville to its customer base in the USA, is an endorsement and credit to Breville as they lead the way to environmental friendly practices. It also demonstrates Cardia's versatile Bioplastics technologies as Cardia wins the confidence of a world class designer and maker of kitchen appliances"
This is an important achievement for Cardia and adds another leading global brand to the Company's customer portfolio. This also confirms Cardia's view of a global shift with major brand owners and packaging companies wanting to transition from conventional oil based plastic packaging products to bioplastics that have and environmental benefit and a lower carbon foot print.
The global shift towards green economies is gaining significant traction as individuals, companies and Governments are looking at ways to reduce their impact on the environment and looking at new technologies that can reduce their carbon footprint.
Cardia is well-placed to capitalize on this trend supported with a patented portfolio comprising a number of renewable resin technologies.

Source: Cardia Bioplastics

Monday, March 18, 2013

BioSolar to Supply BioBacksheet to Manufacturer of Specialty PV Panels for Electric Utility Vehicles

BioSolar, Inc., developer of breakthrough products and materials that reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, recently announced that it has received its first commercial BioBacksheet order. The first shipment of BioBacksheet will be used for the manufacture of specialty PV panels for electric utility vehicles with anticipated further shipments to be used by military and other mobile applications. The customer's PV panels feature lightweight, high-power-to-weight ratio, highly durable, customizable shapes, sizes and colors.
Dr. David Lee, the company's CEO commented, "This first commercial order marks an important event in the history of our company. In spite of recent turmoil in the solar market, we have found success. Customers are attracted to the unique product features of BioBacksheet, including single layer composition, reliability, efficiency and cost competitiveness. Though the sales cycle for specialty PV panels can be shorter than mainstream PV panels, it is important to note that the durability requirements in this market segment are much more stringent than what is normally expected from standard PV components."

"The length of time it takes for mainstream PV customers to complete the full purchase cycle is long, but it also creates a barrier of entry for the competition," Lee added. "BioSolar is now in position to expand sales into mainstream PV market as we have completed successful internal testing, qualification, and UL material certification. Our sales and support efforts during the past 12 months have resulted in certain large customers obtaining panel level UL or IEC certifications. We look forward to achieving our next major milestone which is receiving purchase commitments from large scale solar manufacturers."
Dr. Lee concluded, "Solar is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and BioSolar is very well positioned to benefit from the surge in demand. Our patent pending BioBacksheet is the world's first and only UL certified solar panel backsheet made from renewable materials and features two distinct benefits that are unmatched by existing backsheets. First, BioBacksheet's high thermal conductivity rapidly draws heat away from the solar cells, which can increase the power output of the entire solar panel and also improve long term durability by decreasing temperature fluctuations. Second, BioBacksheet's USDA BioPreferred Certification allows solar panels to be marketed as more sustainable and socially responsible, and preferred by U.S. government agencies."

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

SABIC, Aster Capital Invest in FibeRio to Scale-up its Forcespinning® Nanofiber Production Process

FibeRio, the developer and manufacturer of ground breaking Forcespinning® nanofiber production systems recently announced it has completed a $13M capital raise led by two global strategic investors — SABIC Ventures B.V., Saudi Basic Industries Corporation's corporate venture capital arm, and Aster Capital Partners, sponsored by Solvay, Schneider Electric, Alstom and the European investment fund. The funding will be used to accelerate the company's commercial growth, introduce larger scale production systems to the market and execute on a growing pipeline of orders and global opportunities with industry leading customers.

"The support of two of the leading, knowledgeable strategic investors in this space, SABIC and Aster Capital, is a strong validation of the uniqueness of our Forcespinning technology and will help the company accelerate our growth, open new markets and enable new applications for all of our customers" commented Ellery Buchanan, CEO of FibeRio. "This collaboration will greatly accelerate our vision of the Forcespinning process becoming the world's leading, cost effective process to produce nanofibers at scale never before achieved."
Forcespinning is a disruptive, platform technology which enables leading manufacturers to produce nanofibers on a truly commercial scale in a cost effective way using a wide range of polymers and an environmentally sensitive process. Forcespinning is the only fine fiber production system capable of both melt and solution spinning from lab scale to full industrial scale production. Unlike electrospinning, Forcespinning does not require materials to contain certain dielectric properties for processing which limits the materials that can be produced into fiber. Nanofiber applications are used in a variety of markets including filtration, nonwovens, battery separators, textiles, biomedical and conductive applications.
Hans Kolnaar of SABIC Ventures commented "FibeRio's unique processing technology not only increases our market reach, but offers SABIC an opportunity to move further down the value chain with innovative fibers for our customers."
"We view the cost effective production of nanofibers at scale as a key technological focus for the nonwovens marketplace for a wide variety of applications in the filtration, energy, medical, hygiene and textiles markets. Thanks to our sponsor, Solvay, we were able to validate that FibeRio has a unique breakthrough technology to accelerate nanofiber growth for all levels of production. We are excited to partner with a company that will be driving the deployment of nanofibers for the foreseeable future" commented Pascal Siegwart and Todd Dauphinais, partners at Aster Capital in a joint statement.
The combined breadth of resins represented by SABIC and Aster cover everything from commodity polymers such as polypropylene and nylon to high performance materials including fluoropolymers, polysulfones, polyethylene imines, and liquid crystal polymers among others. A number of these materials have never been made into nanofibers before and can offer materials performance advantages to FibeRio Forcespinning equipment customers. FibeRio, SABIC and Solvay will all benefit through the integration of a wide range of resins with Forcespinning technology.

FibeRio's existing shareholders also participated in this financing round, including the University of Texas System - UT Horizon Fund, the University of Texas — Pan American, the State of Texas, Silverton Partners and Cottonwood Technology Fund I. As part of this financing, James Wilson, of SABIC's Innovative Plastics Strategic Business Unit, and Todd Dauphinais of Aster Capital will join the FibeRio board of directors.

Source: FibeRio

Monday, March 4, 2013

Braskem Acquires HTS System for Synthetic Biology Project to Develop Renewable Polymers

To support its research in metabolic engineering, Braskem has acquired a High Throughput Screening (HTS) system from the U.S. company Hamilton, one of the world leaders in the field of robotics. This robot is Hamilton's most modern in use in South America and the first ever in Brazil to be used for this application.
The robot will be used in projects involving the genetic manipulation of microorganisms known as synthetic biology for the development of new renewable polymers. The HTS system will allow researchers' work to be multiplied by 100 to 1,000 times in the same period of time.
To learn more details about the robot's operations, four Braskem researchers will receive special training in the United States. Hamilton also created a technical support team in Brazil especially to provide support for the HTS system.
"The HTS system is yet another tool that will enable Braskem as well as Brazil to accelerate their development of competencies in biotechnology and position themselves as key players in the bioeconomy. Braskem has achieved results in synthetic biology and advanced biopolymers on par with those of the most renowned companies in these fields," said Avram Slovic, manager of Braskem's Biotechnology Program.

Source: Braskem