Thomas Edison Smiles at Bioplastics

Thomas Edison Smiles at BioplasticsKnow those attractive spools of colored plastic filament you can buy and load into a 3D printer to make your creations? What if the plastic filament comes from another source…..like algae? That’s right algae turned into bioplastics.

Researchers and designers in the Netherlands are working on this unusual use of algae, to replace synthetic plastics with bioplastics. And it may not stop with just algae as the researchers expand their ideas. It has a nice cache don’t you think….environmentally friendly materials to use when making things. Thomas Edison was a very big fan of using natural earth elements in his inventions.

Algae and seaweeds could be cultivated in local facilities, and during their growth process absorb carbon dioxide and other substances from both aquatic and atmospheric environments, creating oxygen and biomass (bioplastics). Dried algae bioplastic is powdered, mixed with other components and extruded filament is manufactured. Different compositions including color, texture and specific properties can be accomplished through the close control of various algae forms.

Thomas Edison Smiles at Bioplastics

Although this raw material for plastic filament is probably more costly, it does chalk-up economic credits for cleaning the environment; and using locally grown materials with less wastage and transportation energy savings. Can you see Edison smiling over this one!

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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