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Cereplast to Transform Algae into Bioplastics

30 October 2009

Cereplast have been developing what it calls a breakthrough technology that will transform algae into bioplastics. The company aims to commercialise this development and launch a new family of algae-based resins that will complement its existing line of Compostables and Hybrid resins.

Up to present, Cereplast have worked with a variety of renewable materials, such as starches from corn, tapioca, wheat and potatoes and Ingeo PLA.

""Our algae research has shown promising results and we believe that in the months to come we should be able to launch this new family of algae-based resins,” continued Mr. Scheer. “Algae-based resins represent an outstanding opportunity for companies across the plastic supply chain to become more environmentally sustainable and reduce the industry's reliance on oil. We are still in the development phase, but we believe that this breakthrough technology could result in a significant new line of business in the years to come.”

“Based on our own efforts, as well as recent commitments by major players in the algae field, we believe that algae has the potential to become one of the most important ‘green’ feedstocks for biofuels, as well as bioplastics,” stated Frederic Scheer, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cereplast. “Clearly, our focus will be on bioplastics. However, for our algae-based resins to be successful, we require the production of substantial quantities of algae feedstock.” We are very encouraged when we see big players entering the algae production business, including Exxon’s $600 million investment in Synthetic Genomics and BP’s $10 million investment in Martek Biosciences.”

Cereplast has initiated contact with several companies that plan to use algae to minimize the CO2 and NOX gases from polluting smoke-stack environments. According to their researchers, algae from a typical photo-bioreactor is harvested daily and may be treated as biomass, which can be used as biofuel or as a raw material source for biopolymer feed stock.

The company is in direct communication with potential chemical conversion companies that could convert the algae biomass into viable monomers for further conversion into potential biopolymers. “Algae as biomass makes sense in that it helps close the loop on polluting gases and can be a significant renewable resource,” added Mr. Scheer.

The company hopes that this new line of algae-based resins could eventually replace 50% or more of the petroleum content used in traditional plastic resins.