Business II Biodegradable Biopolymer Manufacturing, Physical-property control and Applications

1.Technology and Features

(1) Social demands for and problems of Petroleum-derived plastics

Petroleum-derived plastics are essential in daily life and industries, and it is expected the demand for it will continue to grow. But, this growth also brings problems. such as,
  • ① Future petroleum resource depletion and price fluctuation
  • ② CO2 gas from Incineration of waste plastics
  • ③ Microplastics accumulation in the ocean
In particular, microplastics accumulation in the ocean is the global problem.
One of the possible solutions of this problem is to use biodegradable biopolymers.

(2) Our Biodegradable biopolymer is Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)

Many “biopolymers” have been developed for various applications.
There are reports that biopolymers, which are really biodegradable in the natural environment, are only PHA and cellulose.
PHA have been developed by many organizations for long time. But, because of its inadequate properties and processability, and particularly high selling price, its commercialization has been delayed.
In order to solve these problems, we have been collaborating with an Asian university.

(3) Basic Features of PHA

PHA is produced by carbon-utilizing bacteria and degradable to be re-used under certain conditions. This is the basic difference from other biopolymers, and the reason why PHA is degradable in the natural environment.

(4) Features of our technologies

We have made the following important developments.
  • ① The new genomes of key enzymes in the PHA biosynthesis pathway were found and identified from natural source, and recombinant cells with these highly efficient enzymes were established.
  • ② The fermentation process, using highly efficient and low price carbon source, were developed.
  • ③ The unique and low-cost purification process was established.
  • ④ To change the ratio of components in the copolymer made it possible to widen “heat processing window” by controlling physical-property.
  • ⑤ These improvements make it possible to produce biodegradable bioplastic at the cost competitive with the selling price of petroleum-derived plastics.
    Such products contribute to the sustainable society.
Our PHA copolymers have unique properties as plastics in addition to biodegradability; such as adhesiveness, higher vapor barrier, oil adsorption, unique flexibility and so on.

(1) raw materials

After purification, it has granule shape. Depending on applications, it can be used as it is.

(2) Non-woven-fiber sheet produced by ESD method

This thin sheet is degradable to invisible form within very short days

(3) Film by t die extrusion method

(4) Non-woven fabric by Melt blown method

(5) Various products are manufactured by Injection molding

(This sample was made by Contract research at Saitama Industrial Technology Center)

It is necessary to choose a better composition of copolymer for every application.
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