LG Chem has announced that it has successfully developed a wholly new biobased polymer offering mechanical properties and transparency similar to a conventional fossil-based materials like PP.
The new material, said LG Chem, is derived from corn-based glucose and crude glycerol, and is 100% biobased. Unlike many other biodegradable materials, which must be blended with other resins or additives in order to achieve the desired properties and flexibility, this new material is ‘a single homogenous material’, the company reports.
Flexibility, a key challenge with existing biodegradable products, is 20 times higher compared to products available on the market. Moreover, as no materials are required to be added or blended in, the transparency of the material is maintained even after processing.
With the market for biodegradable materials forecast to grow 15% per year between 2019 and 2025, LG Chem is confident that the material will offer a welcome alternative in, among others, the eco-friendly packaging industry.
However, as legislation on single-use plastics tightens in the European Union and around the globe and demand for biodegradable materials rises, the company also sees good application possibilities in many other areas, including plastic bags, air cap buffers, disposable cups, foaming products, mask felt, and many more.
“In a time where there is growing interest around the world on eco-friendly materials, it is very meaningful that we successfully developed biodegradable platform materials with proprietary technologies using 100% bio ingredients,” said LG Chem CTO and president Kisu Ro.
The new material has been shown to meet the certification requirements for industrial biodegradability in Europe from the international certification agency ‘DIN CERTCO’.
LG Chem plans to accelerate its entry into the biodegradable materials market based on new technologies it has procured while also expediting procurement of bio materials to expand its business. It is scheduled to conduct prototype evaluations for client companies in 2022 with the goal of mass production in 2025.
“We will concentrate on R&D in the eco-friendly materials sector and become a leading company for a virtuous circulation of resources and for protecting the ecosystem,” said Kisu Ro.