VTT develops fully bio-based plastic replacement
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a thermally formable and biodegradable material that can be used for industrial applications, such as furniture.
VTT’s new material can be used to replace fossil raw material-derived plastics or wood, for example, and it’s well suited for various manufacturing processes and products due to its formability and colouring properties.
“All the goals we set were achieved: the material is 100 per cent bio-based, cellulose fibres account for a significant proportion, it looks good, and it has excellent performance characteristics,” says Lisa Wikström, research team leader from VTT.
When products made of the material reach the end of their lifecycle, they can be re-used, composted or burned to generate energy without any CO2 emissions.
“New bio-based, thermally formable materials and composites are a promising alternative for the plastic products market,” Wikström continues. “However, a big breakthrough is yet to come. A major shift requires co-operation between material and process developers as well as designers.”
The first model product is a designer chair manufactured by VTT, Plastec Finland and KO-HO Industrial Design. It’s made from wood-based cellulose fibres, renewable and compostable thermoformable polylactide and bio-based additives.