What are Bio-based materials?
Bio-based materials are the type of sustainable materials that are biodegradable and created from biomass. Traditionally, materials have been limited to innovations such as plastic, synthetic threads, and fossil fuels that, at the time, improved cost, efficiency, and convenience. However, the negative impacts on the environment caused by these traditional materials must be addressed. New innovations in the sustainability space have proven to not only eliminate this negative impact but can even have overall positive environmental effects.
In order to create a sustainable future, corporations must divest from one-time-use plastics and cheap materials to focus on long-term returns. Although accessibility to bio-materials in scale is still in its early stages, the industry is quickly advancing. Our economy will soon evolve into a bio-economy involving biotechnology and biomass in the production of goods, energy, and services to become the norm. To make this a reality, corporations need to take a stance on banning the use of single-use plastic and pledge the use of bio-based, reusable, and biodegradable products. If this occurs, we will start to see significant positive changes in the world concerning waste, pollution, and climate change issues. We can genuinely embrace a circular economy that sustains our needs without harming the environment.
Everyone can agree that the agricultural sector produces a lot of by-products that are mostly discarded. Traceless Materials utilizes agrarian by-products to create a biodegradable plastic that’s water-insoluble and requires no additives that would harm the environment.
When it comes to innovation in sustainability, thinking outside the box is exactly what the founder of Gjenge Makers did. “Gjenge Makers transforms plastics into sustainable, extremely durable construction materials using machines designed by the founder herself. Their colorful bricks are stronger than concrete and swiftly gaining global attention—including from the United Nations.”
These bio-based materials don’t have to be all about plastics either. Speaking of agriculture, creating a bacteria-based fertilizer that would eliminate the use of harmful chemicals that are used in traditional fertilizers is what Bioponics is all about.
The hope and goal for these bio-based and recyclable materials are that it is environmentally friendly and can be utilized many more times. The problem, nowadays, is that there is an absurd amount of waste lying around in environments and ecosystems with so many people in the world.
Most of today’s plastics are derived from petroleum, a limited resource that could be depleted in our lifetimes. In addition, the use of petroleum contributes to 43% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, having a significant impact on climate change, and resulting in strict regulations for industrial manufacturing.
The majority of petroleum-based products end up in our landfills and our oceans, degrading entire ecosystems. Manufacturers today are seeking green, sustainable alternatives to current petroleum-based materials to meet environmental, regulatory, and societal pressures, reduce emissions, and increase biodegradability.
The goal of these materials is to one day replace non-sustainable materials on the market but also have similar properties to plastics. Many startups in Plug and Play’s ecosystem focus on additives and coatings to accomplish this biodegradability. Biobased materials can be in various industries such as: natural biomaterials, ceramics, polymeric biomaterials, and metallics biomaterials.
Silvis Materials (Silvis) is developing a cellulosic bio-based resin for the $45 billion polymer emulsion market to help coatings and adhesive manufacturers to reduce today’s dependence on petroleum-based products.
There are a lot of advantages to using bio-based materials. Some of the many benefits include transforming the production of chemicals, plastics, and biofuels. This will, in turn, help companies reduce environmental impact, cut energy use, and improve their bottom lines. The use of these green products and bio-based materials can replace materials like chemicals and petroleum, thus cutting greenhouse gas emissions. They can even be carbon neutral. By using plants in these bio-based plastics, they can temporarily remove CO2. According to reliable estimates: "worldwide biomaterials market size valuation was recorded at USD 33.5 billion in 2019, which is projected to cross USD 53 billion by the year 2027, expanding at 6.1% CAGR. Extensive usage of biomaterials in an array of medical applications, in consort with inflowing investments from universities, government, and private bodies for research & development of novel biomaterials are stimulating the market outlook.”
At Integrated Lipid Biofuels (ILB), they are dedicated to enabling cost-effective production of biopolymer from organic wastes. The general products of interest include specialty high-value bioproducts, renewable chemicals, and biofuels. The production of biodegradable bioplastics is currently limited due to the high cost of starch or plant oil as feedstock relative to the low cost of fossil-based feedstock. ILB’s technology makes it possible to overcome this barrier by use of organic wastes as the feedstock and increasing the efficiency of microbial cell factories, thus significantly reducing the production cost while offering an alternative for more sustainable disposing of organic wastes.
Another benefit of bio-based plastics is the increased resource efficiency and ability to “close the cycle”. Renewable resources are used to produce bio-based products and can be reused and recycled. An output of using renewable resources is biomass which can be used to grow new plants.
Biofuels have many environmental benefits compared to fossil fuels because they can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cellulosic ethanol results in up to an 86% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the use of fossil fuels.
At Plug and Play Tech Center, we offer an ecosystem of over 40,000 startups that interact with our industry-specific corporate partners. The bio-based startups participate in our New Materials & Packaging as well as Sustainability programs. Besides the startups we have mentioned above, you can find more bio-based startups below that can make an impact.
Most of today’s plastics are derived from petroleum, a limited resource that could be depleted in our lifetimes. In addition, the use of petroleum contributes to 43% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, having a significant impact on climate change, and resulting in strict regulations for industrial manufacturing. The majority of petroleum-based products end up in our landfills and our oceans, degrading entire ecosystems. Manufacturers today are seeking green, sustainable alternatives to current petroleum-based materials to meet environmental, regulatory, and societal pressures, reduce emissions, and increase biodegradability. Silvis Materials is developing a cellulosic bio-based resin for the $45 billion polymer emulsion market to help coatings and adhesive manufacturers to reduce today’s dependence on petroleum-based products.
ANPOLY is developing functional nanobio materials for high-quality bioplastics. We provide eco-friendly and sustainable solutions to resolve carbon emission and dependency on fossil-based products, producing biodegradable materials from organic waste; husk. ANPOLY's nanobio materials are not only used for composite materials to reinforce and lighten them but they are also used for food packaging and medical plastics due to it being highly non-toxic.
Founded in 2017, Bio-Lutions is a Hamburg-based manufacturer producing ecological packaging and disposable tableware from agricultural residues without the need for additional binding agents or chemicals, and at a cost-competitive to that of production from plastics. Bio-Lutions converts raw materials into self-binding natural fibers through a mechanical process. Our raw materials do not have to go through the energy-intense process of cellulose extraction or bleaching. This way, we avoid the excessive use of chemicals and water in our production processes, both common to cellulose-based paper and bioplastic products.
Intermix Performance Materials
Their polymer additive enables the valorization of mixed plastics at a low cost producing a high-quality alloy. Polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) account for about 2/3 of all plastics in post-consumer waste. Due to their different structures, they are not miscible, resulting in plastic mixtures with unacceptably poor strength. One way to create higher quality recycled materials is to perform careful manual separation, but this is expensive and the separated materials still exhibit performance that is inferior to pure PP and PE unless separation is near perfect.
Intermix has developed a polymer additive that when added to a stream of mixed PP and PE enables these two polymers to be combined, yielding a polymer alloy that is mechanically comparable to pure PE and PP samples. This obviates laborious and expensive sorting.
Scindo is a cleantech start-up harnessing the power of enzymes to recycle nonrecyclables. They are targeting plastics that cannot be efficiently recycled with current methodologies, to turn them into high-value molecules that can be used in a plethora of industries. They are creating a more circular economy for plastics by developing an alternative to landfills and incineration.
Traceless is a water-insoluble, storage-stable material, providing the beneficial properties of conventional plastics while being truly bio-circular, addressing the global challenge of plastic pollution. For the first time, properties inherent in by-products of the agricultural industry are used to manufacture a material that is truly environmentally compostable, avoiding further plastic pollution. Traceless materials is 100% bio-based while not competing with food production. In contrast to conventional (bio)plastics, traceless doesn’t need additives harming the environment or human health and has huge scale-up potential.
Integrated Lipid Biofuels
Integrated Lipid Biofuels (ILB) is dedicated to enabling the cost-effective production of biopolymer from organic wastes. Although highly desirable and presenting a high market potential, production of biodegradable bioplastics is currently limited due to the high cost of starch or plant oil as feedstock relative to the low cost of fossil-based feedstock. ILB’s technology makes it possible to overcome this barrier by use of organic wastes as the feedstock and increasing the efficiency of microbial cell factories, thus significantly reducing the production cost while offering an alternative for more sustainable disposing of organic wastes.
Bloom Biorenewables is the first company able to convert inedible, bio-derived carbons to petroleum analogs with exceptional efficiency. These molecules, typically derived from lignocellulosic biomass, can be used to manufacture a wide range of products, such as plastics, resins, flavors, herbicides, cosmetics, or even pharmaceuticals, without altering their properties. This opens countless routes for multinational companies to innovate responsibly and ensure the maintenance of the wider environment.
Bioponics is replacing chemical fertilizer plants with a sustainable, bacteria-based solution. Currently, 1% of global energy usage is deployed into chemical fertilizer production, which is both time and resource-intensive. Bioponics has developed a photosynthetic bacteria that releases ammonium as an ethically, and naturally sourced fertilizer using atmospheric nitrogen. Compared to traditional methods, Bioponics use 12x less energy and don’t release any toxins as a by-product of our production methods.
We aRe SpinDye
We aRe SpinDye® offers the most sustainable polyester yarns and fabrics in the fashion and apparel industry. Their easy accessible coloring process is certified and fully transparent, it delivers fabrics with excellent color performance and long-term awesomeness.
Atmonia is developing a breakthrough electro-catalytic process for generating aqueous ammonia from air and water, for direct use as fertilizer through irrigation. The Atmonia process, unlike conventional ammonia production, is zero carbon, works at ambient pressure and temperature and is based on economical and abundant catalysts. The company's process enables clients to get access to sustainable on-site ammonia fertilizer production solutions.
Manufacturer of eco-friendly paving systems intended to innovate technologies to create sustainable alternative construction products. The company's platform address the prevalent crisis of improper waste management by developing an ecosystem for recycling and upcycling waste to foster an eco-friendly lifestyle, it recycles plastic into paving slabs, providing technologies to harvest from the air and motivating fishing boats to haul plastics out of the ocean, enabling the manufacturing sector to get recycled, strong and durable building materials.