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Solving the plastic problem with biopolymers

Solving the plastic problem with biopolymers 480 364 developer

Two scientists from Teysha Technologies discuss how organic material can now be turned into a viable plastic substitute

Prof Karen L. Wooley

In this interview we talk to two scientists from Teysha Technologies, Prof Karen L. Wooley, Chief Technology Officer and Dr Ashlee A. Jahnke, Project Research Scientist about solving the plastic problem with biopolymers, including how organic biomass can now be turned into a viable plastic substitute.

As policymakers continue to crack down on plastics, with the EU Parliament recently approving a ban on single-use plastics, businesses are increasingly under pressure to source earth-friendly bioplastics for their products.

 

 

Can you tell us about the latest developments in biopolymers?

Karen: Over the past couple of decades, we’ve become keenly aware of the potential negative impacts that may occur for polymer materials that persist beyond their useful lifetime. This has led us to consider the full lifecycle of plastics at the initial design stage. One way of addressing this is by building polymers from natural products so that they are capable of degradation to regenerate the natural-product building blocks.

Dr Ashlee A. Jahnke

Ashlee: This kind of technology is truly more of a platform than a single polymer system, providing inherent versatility in the properties that can be achieved. It can be thought of as a plug-and-play system where various modified natural-product monomers and various co-monomers can be used.

In addition to co-monomers, various additives can be used to modify the properties of the final polymer produced. This versatility allows for the formation of a variety of materials that can vary greatly in their thermal and mechanical properties.

 

 

 

How does this technology compare to existing petroleum-based polycarbonates?

Karen: A significant advantage of this kind of technology is the use of natural, sustainable feedstocks to generate polycarbonate materials with the ability to tune the physical, mechanical and chemical properties by controlling the chemistry, formulation and polymerization conditions.

Because natural building blocks offer higher chemical diversity than typical hydrocarbon sources, this method can be used to tune the degradation rates of intact material systems. Most current polycarbonates are prepared from hydrocarbon-based petrochemicals and achieve varied properties through molar mass control, crystallinity control and blending with other polymers, with fewer opportunities to fine-tune individual properties.

Moreover, the most common polycarbonate is poly(Bisphenol A carbonate), which generates bisphenol A (BPA) upon hydrolytic breakdown – for example, under the extreme conditions in a dishwasher. Since BPA has been implicated in several diseases, avoiding its use as a building block for engineering plastics is of high importance.

How can the polymers be tuned and what does this mean for things like durability and biodegradability?


Karen: The strength, toughness, durability and longevity of these polymers are dependent on the properties of the specific monomers used in polymer- ization and can be tuned for various applications. The material properties range from flexible to rigid, with degradation occurring over a period of weeks to years, and depending on the polymer composition and the environmental conditions.

Ashlee: These new kinds of polymers also have varied thermal stabilities depending on the composition and have degradation temperatures that are generally simi- lar to but in some cases, lower than other polycarbonate and polyester materials. Another area to consider is how well biopolymers and their processing methods respond to additives, and whether they’re compatible with various dyes, scents, oils, plasticizers and nanoparticles.

The main mechanism of polymer degradation is through hydrolytic degradation, allowing for a break- down in any environment containing moisture and does not require microbial activity, anaerobic conditions or industrial composting.

To determine the best disposal methods for a complete breakdown, we’re still measuring and testing full degra- dation profiles in various potential disposal conditions – like in waterways, landfills and composting.

What renewable sources can be used as feedstock to make these biopolymers?

Ashlee: This technology can use a wide variety of renewable, natural products for monomer feedstocks. The current focus is on the use of polyhydroxyl natural products, including those derived from starches, as well as agricultural waste products.

What kinds of material applications are these biopolymers used in?

Karen: Natural product-derived polycarbonates have applications ranging from single-use packaging and cosmetic microbeads to durable goods.

One significant feature of the current system that is unique from other bioplastics is the diversity of functional groups incorporated into the polymer. These include both carbonates and esters, which are traditionally used in degradable polymer systems, and less commonly used thioether linkages. The sulphur content in the final polymer may impart unique properties that have not yet been explored.D

Further, the sugar monomers, which serve as a structural component of the polymer framework, have both alcohol and alkenyl functionalities available for modification, either pre- or post-polymerization, with various chemical groups to impart specifically desired properties to the final polymer system.

“As policymakers continue to crack down on plastics, with the EU Parliament recently approving a ban on single-use plastics, businesses are increasingly under pressure to source earth-friendly bioplastics for their products.”

About the interviewees

Professor Karen L. Wooley is the inventor and Chief Technology Officer at Teysha Technologies. She is the W. T. Doherty-Welch Chair in Chemistry and a Presidential Impact Fellow at Texas A&M University, where she holds appointments in the departments of Chemistry, Chem- ical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.

Dr Ashlee A. Jahnke is Project Research Scientist at Teysha Technologies. She was a Colin Hahnemann Bayley Fellow at the University of Toronto, where she received a PhD in polymers and materials chemistry. Her research focuses on natural-product based degradable polymer systems, their scale-up and commercialisation. ■

Solving the plastic problem with biopolymers

Solving the plastic problem with biopolymers 800 533 developer

Two scientists from Teysha Technologies discuss how organic material can now be turned into a viable plastic substitute

In this interview, we talk to two scientists from Teysha Technologies, Prof Karen L. Wooley, Chief Technology Officer and Dr Ashlee A. Jahnke, Project Research Scientist about solving the plastic problem with biopolymers, including how organic biomass can now be turned into a viable plastic substitute.

As policymakers continue to crack down on plastics, with the EU Parliament recently approving a ban on single-use plastics, businesses are increasingly under pressure to source earth-friendly bioplastics for their products.

© Alikaj2582 |

Can you tell us about the latest developments in biopolymers?

Karen: Over the past couple of decades, we’ve become keenly aware of the potential negative impacts that may occur for polymer materials that persist beyond their useful lifetime. This has led us to consider the full lifecycle of plastics at the initial design stage. One way of addressing this is by building polymers from natural products so that they are capable of degradation to regenerate the natural-product building blocks.

Ashlee: This kind of technology is truly more of a platform than a single polymer system, providing inherent versatility in the properties that can be achieved. It can be thought of as a plug-and-play system where various modified natural-product monomers and various co-monomers can be used.

In addition to co-monomers, various additives can be used to modify the properties of the final polymer produced. This versatility allows for the formation of a variety of materials that can vary greatly in their thermal and mechanical properties.

How does this technology compare to existing petroleum-based polycarbonates?

Karen: A significant advantage of this kind of technology is the use of natural, sustainable feedstocks to generate polycarbonate materials with the ability to tune the physical, mechanical and chemical properties by controlling the chemistry, formulation and polymerization conditions.

Because natural building blocks offer higher chemical diversity than typical hydrocarbon sources, this method can be used to tune the degradation rates of intact material systems. Most current polycarbonates are prepared from hydrocarbon-based petrochemicals and achieve varied properties through molar mass control, crystallinity control and blending with other polymers, with fewer opportunities to fine-tune individual properties.

Moreover, the most common polycarbonate is poly(Bisphenol A carbonate), which generates bisphenol A (BPA) upon hydrolytic breakdown – for example, under the extreme conditions in a dishwasher. Since BPA has been implicated in several diseases, avoiding its use as a building block for engineering plastics is of high importance.

How can the polymers be tuned and what does this mean for things like durability and biodegradability?

Karen: The strength, toughness, durability and longevity of these polymers are dependent on the properties of the specific monomers used in polymerization and can be tuned for various applications. The material properties range from flexible to rigid, with degradation occurring over a period of weeks to years, and depending on the polymer composition and the environmental conditions.

Ashlee: These new kinds of polymers also have varied thermal stabilities depending on the composition and have degradation temperatures that are generally similar to but in some cases, lower than other polycarbonate and polyester materials. Another area to consider is how well biopolymers and their processing methods respond to additives, and whether they’re compatible with various dyes, scents, oils, plasticizers and nanoparticles.

The main mechanism of polymer degradation is through hydrolytic degradation, allowing for a breakdown in any environment containing moisture and does not require microbial activity, anaerobic conditions or industrial composting.

To determine the best disposal methods for a complete breakdown, we’re still measuring and testing full degradation profiles in various potential disposal conditions – like in waterways, landfills and composting.

What renewable sources can be used as feedstock to make these biopolymers?

Ashlee: This technology can use a wide variety of renewable, natural products for monomer feedstocks. The current focus is on the use of polyhydroxyl natural products, including those derived from starches, as well as agricultural waste products.

What kinds of material applications are these biopolymers used in?

Karen: Natural product-derived polycarbonates have applications ranging from single-use packaging and cosmetic microbeads to durable goods.

One significant feature of the current system that is unique from other bioplastics is the diversity of functional groups incorporated into the polymer. These include both carbonates and esters, which are traditionally used in degradable polymer systems, and less commonly used thioether linkages. The sulphur content in the final polymer may impart unique properties that have not yet been explored.

Further, the sugar monomers, which serve as a structural component of the polymer framework, have both alcohol and alkenyl functionalities available for modification, either pre- or post-polymerization, with various chemical groups to impart specifically desired properties to the final polymer system.

About the interviewees

Prof Karen L. Wooley

Professor Karen L. Wooley is the inventor and Chief Technology Officer at Teysha Technologies. She is the W. T. Doherty-Welch Chair in Chemistry and a Presidential Impact Fellow at Texas A&M University, where she holds appointments in the departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.

Breakthrough in biodegradable plastics

Breakthrough in biodegradable plastics 1200 800 developer

Following years of research, Teysha Technologieshas developed a natural polycarbonate platform that can create fully biodegradable substitutes for existing petroleum-based plastics. The bioplastic, AggiePol, is derived from sustainable feedstocks and can be physically, mechanically and chemically tuned to suit the needs of its intended application. The versatile material could replace the traditional plastic used in the automotive industry and medical equipment.

 
Teysha’s technology uses a plug-and-play system that takes monomers and co-monomers, the natural building blocks of plastics, to create an eco-friendly alternative to traditional polymers. Instead of using hydrocarbon-based petrochemicals, which are sourced from fossil fuels and generate various pollutants in the manufacturing of the material, Teysha’s platform uses natural products such as starches and agricultural waste products.
 
By controlling the chemistry, formulation and polymerisation conditions, the polycarbonate materials created can be precisely tuned. Unlike existing bioplastics such as PLA and PHA, the degradation rate of AggiePol can also be tuned, minimising the environmental impact of plastic products after the end of their useful lifetime.
 
“In the sea, existing plastics often break down into microplastic particles that can be consumed by marine life and ultimately work their way up the food chain and end up on our dinner plates,” explained co-inventor and head of research at Teysha Technologies, Dr Ashlee Jahnke. “The ultimate fate of plastic materials and whether they breakdown must be taken in to consideration, as many plastics can persist in the environment or landfills for thousands of years.
 
“At Teysha, we have developed a system where the main mechanism of polymer degradation is water-driven. This allows for breakdown in any environment containing sufficient moisture and not necessarily requiring microbial activity or industrial composting conditions. 
 
“Until now, strategies to reduce plastic pollution have relied on changing human behaviour, such as encouraging recycling and banning certain plastic items like carrier bags. By considering the ultimate fate of an applications material in the initial design stage, we can reduce the environmental impacts that occur from plastics, even those made by natural products, and stop contributing to the long-term accumulation of plastics in our oceans.”
 
It’s estimated that there is currently around 80,000 tons of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch alone. As the growing demand for single-use disposable plastic products such as packaging increases, finding a substitute like Teysha’s AggiePol has never been more critical.  
 
Teysha Technologies is also currently working to use green and sustainable manufacturing processes, such as carbon dioxide capture and reagent recycling, for the synthesis of all its polymer building blocks.

Sources: https://www.engineerlive.com/content/breakthrough-biodegradable-plastics

Polycarbonate developed that could ‘replace traditional plastic used in medical equipment’

Polycarbonate developed that could ‘replace traditional plastic used in medical equipment’ 736 836 developer

Plastics technology researcher and developer Teysha Technologies has developed a natural polycarbonate platform that it claims could replace the traditional plastic used in medical equipment.

AggiePol, which Teysha claims is a breakthrough in biodegradable plastics, derives from sustainable feedstocks, can be physically, mechanically and chemically tuned to suit the needs of its intended application.

Teysha’s technology uses a plug-and-play system that takes monomers and co-monomers, the natural building blocks of plastics, to create an eco-friendly alternative to traditional polymers. Instead of using hydrocarbon-based petrochemicals, which are sourced from fossil fuels and generate various pollutants in the manufacturing of the material, Teysha’s platform uses starches and agricultural waste products.

The degradation rate of AggiePol can also be tuned, with the aim of minimising the environmental impact of plastic products after the end of their useful lifetime.

Dr Ashlee Jahnke, co-inventor and head of research at Teysha Technologies said: “In the sea, existing plastics often break down into microplastic particles that can be consumed by marine life and ultimately work their way up the food chain and end up on our dinner plates. The ultimate fate of plastic materials and whether they breakdown must be taken in to consideration, as many plastics can persist in the environment or landfills for thousands of years.

“At Teysha, we have developed a system where the main mechanism of polymer degradation is water-driven. This allows for breakdown in any environment containing sufficient moisture and not necessarily requiringmicrobial activity or industrial composting conditions.

“Until now, strategies to reduce plastic pollution have relied on changing human behaviour, such as encouraging recycling and banning certain plastic items like carrier bags. By considering the ultimate fate of an applications material in the initial design stage, we can reduce the environmental impacts that occur from plastics, even those made by natural products, and stop contributing to the long-term accumulation of plastics in our oceans.”

Teysha Technologies is also currently working to use green and sustainable manufacturing processes, such as carbon dioxide capture and reagent recycling, for the synthesis of all its polymer building blocks.

Sources: https://www.medicalplasticsnews.com/news/polycarbonate-developed-that-could-replace-traditional-plas/

‘Breakthrough’ polycarbonate could ‘replace traditional plastic used in medical equipment’

‘Breakthrough’ polycarbonate could ‘replace traditional plastic used in medical equipment’ 1080 719 developer

Plastics technology researcher and developer Teysha Technologies has developed a natural polycarbonate platform that it claims could replace the traditional plastic used in medical equipment.

AggiePol, which Teysha claims is a breakthrough in biodegradable plastics, derives from sustainable feedstocks, can be physically, mechanically and chemically tuned to suit the needs of its intended application.

Teysha’s technology uses a plug-and-play system that takes monomers and co-monomers, the natural building blocks of plastics, to create an eco-friendly alternative to traditional polymers. Instead of using hydrocarbon-based petrochemicals, which are sourced from fossil fuels and generate various pollutants in the manufacturing of the material, Teysha’s platform uses starches and agricultural waste products.

The degradation rate of AggiePol can also be tuned, with the aim of minimising the environmental impact of plastic products after the end of their useful lifetime.

Dr Ashlee Jahnke, co-inventor and head of research at Teysha Technologies said: “In the sea, existing plastics often break down into microplastic particles that can be consumed by marine life and ultimately work their way up the food chain and end up on our dinner plates. The ultimate fate of plastic materials and whether they breakdown must be taken in to consideration, as many plastics can persist in the environment or landfills for thousands of years.

“At Teysha, we have developed a system where the main mechanism of polymer degradation is water-driven. This allows for breakdown in any environment containing sufficient moisture and not necessarily requiringmicrobial activity or industrial composting conditions.

“Until now, strategies to reduce plastic pollution have relied on changing human behaviour, such as encouraging recycling and banning certain plastic items like carrier bags. By considering the ultimate fate of an applications material in the initial design stage, we can reduce the environmental impacts that occur from plastics, even those made by natural products, and stop contributing to the long-term accumulation of plastics in our oceans.”

Teysha Technologies is also currently working to use green and sustainable manufacturing processes, such as carbon dioxide capture and reagent recycling, for the synthesis of all its polymer building blocks.

Sources: https://www.med-technews.com/news/breakthrough-polycarbonate-could-replace-traditional-plas/

Teysha Technologies unveils ‘breakthrough’ in bio-degradable bio-plastics.

Teysha Technologies unveils ‘breakthrough’ in bio-degradable bio-plastics. 962 641 developer

“Teysha Technologies (picture courtesy of Teysha Technologies).Until now, strategies to reduce plastic pollution have relied on changing human behaviour, such as encouraging recycling and banning certain plastic items like carrier bags.”

Teysha Technologies, a UK-based bioplastics startup, has developed a new polymer technology that it claims could help to reduce plastic pollution.

According to the company, the natural polycarbonate platform it has developed can create fully biodegradable substitutes for existing petroleum-based plastics.

Sources: https://www.polyestertime.com/polymers-petrochemicals-renewability-sustainability/

A Breakthrough in Biodegradable Plastics

A Breakthrough in Biodegradable Plastics 1024 683 developer

Following years of research, Teysha Technologies has developed a natural polycarbonate platform that can create fully biodegradable substitutes for existing petroleum-based plastics. The bioplastic, AggiePol®, is derived from sustainable feedstocks and can be physically, mechanically and chemically tuned to suit the needs of its intended application. The versatile material could replace the traditional plastic used in the automotive industry and medical equipment.

Teysha’s technology uses a plug-and-play system that takes monomers and co-monomers, the natural building blocks of plastics, to create an eco-friendly alternative to traditional polymers. Instead of using hydrocarbon-based petrochemicals, which are sourced from fossil fuels and generate various pollutants in the manufacturing of the material, Teysha’s platform uses natural products such as starches and agricultural waste products.

By controlling the chemistry, formulation and polymerization conditions, the polycarbonate materials created by Teysha’s technology can be precisely tuned. Unlike existing bioplastics such as PLA and PHA, the degradation rate of Teysha’s AggiePol® can also be tuned, minimising the environmental impact of plastic products after the end of their useful lifetime.

“In the sea, existing plastics often break down into microplastic particles that can be consumed by marine life and ultimately work their way up the food chain and end up on our dinner plates,” explained co-inventor and head of research at Teysha Technologies, Dr Ashlee Jahnke. “The ultimate fate of plastic materials and whether they breakdown must be taken in to consideration, as many plastics can persist in the environment or landfills for thousands of years.

“At Teysha, we have developed a system where the main mechanism of polymer degradation is water-driven. This allows for breakdown in any environment containing sufficient moisture and not necessarily requiring microbial activity or industrial composting conditions.

“Until now, strategies to reduce plastic pollution have relied on changing human behaviour, such as encouraging recycling and banning certain plastic items like carrier bags. By considering the ultimate fate of an applications material in the initial design stage, we can reduce the environmental impacts that occur from plastics, even those made by natural products, and stop contributing to the long-term accumulation of plastics in our oceans.”

It’s estimated that there is currently around 80,000 tons of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch alone. As the growing demand for single-use disposable plastic products such as packaging increases, finding a substitute like Teysha’s AggiePol® has never been more critical.

Teysha Technologies is also currently working to use green and sustainable manufacturing processes, such as carbon dioxide capture and reagent recycling, for the synthesis of all its polymer building blocks.

Sources: https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=50262

UK’s Teysha Technologies develops viable biobased substitute for polycarbonate

UK’s Teysha Technologies develops viable biobased substitute for polycarbonate 800 533 developer

In the United Kingdom, Teysha Technologies has developed a natural alternative to the ubiquitous thermoplastic polycarbonate. Dubbed AggiePol, the material is made from starch and agricultural wastes and can replace high-performance plastics such as those used in cars and in the medical industry.

“Until now, strategies to reduce plastic pollution have relied on changing human behavior, such as encouraging recycling and banning certain plastic items like carrier bags,” Dr. Ashlee Jahnke, Co-inventor and Head of Research at Teysha Technologies, tells British Plastics. “By considering the ultimate fate of an applications material in the initial design stage, we can reduce the environmental impacts that occur from plastics.”

Teysha Technologies unveils ‘breakthrough’ in bio-degradable bio-plastics.

Teysha Technologies unveils ‘breakthrough’ in bio-degradable bio-plastics. 1280 720 developer

“Until now, strategies to reduce plastic pollution have relied on changing human behaviour, such as encouraging recycling and banning certain plastic items like carrier bags.”

Teysha Technologies, a UK-based bioplastics startup, has developed a new polymer technology that it claims could help to reduce plastic pollution. According to the company, the natural polycarbonate platform it has developed can create fully biodegradable substitutes for existing petroleum-based plastics.

AggiePol, the bioplastic, is derived from sustainable feedstocks and can be physically, mechanically and chemically tuned to suit the needs of its intended application, according to Teysha.

The versatile material could replace the traditional plastic used in the automotive industry and medical equipment.

Teyshas technology uses a plug-and-play system that takes monomers and co-monomers, the natural building blocks of plastics, to create an eco-friendly alternative to traditional polymers.

Instead of using hydrocarbon-based petrochemicals, which are sourced from fossil fuels and generate various pollutants in the manufacturing of the material, Teyshas platform uses natural products such as starches and agricultural waste products.

By controlling the chemistry, formulation and polymerisation conditions, the polycarbonate materials created by Teyshas technology can be precisely tuned.

Unlike existing bioplastics such as PLA and PHA, the degradation rate of Teyshas AggiePol can also be tuned, minimising the environmental impact of plastic products after the end of their useful lifetime, according to Teysha.

Until now, strategies to reduce plastic pollution have relied on changing human behaviour, such as encouraging recycling and banning certain plastic items like carrier bags, said Dr. Ashlee Jahnke, Co-inventor and Head of Research at Teysha Technologies.

By considering the ultimate fate of an applications material in the initial design stage, we can reduce the environmental impacts that occur from plastics.

Sources: https://biomarketinsights.com/teysha-technologies-unveils-breakthrough-in-bio-degradable-bio-plastics/

Teysha Technologies develops biodegradable plastic alternatives

Teysha Technologies develops biodegradable plastic alternatives 720 412 developer

Its AggiePol bio-plastic is derived from sustainable, natural feedstocks such as starches and agricultural waste

A company has developed fully biodegradable substitutes for existing oil-based plastics.

Teysha Technologies says its new polymer technology could significantly reduce plastic pollutionand replace many traditional products used in the automotive and medical industries.

Its bio-plastic, called AggiePol, is derived from sustainable, natural feedstocks such as starches and agricultural waste.

The firm says it can be physically, mechanically and chemically tweaked for different applications – not only that, its degradation rate can also be tuned to minimise the environmental impact of plastic products after the end of their useful lifetime.

Head of Research at Teysha Technologies, Dr Ashlee Jahnke, said: “At Teysha, we have developed a system where the main mechanism of polymer degradation is water-driven.

“This allows for breakdown in any environment containing sufficient moisture and not necessarily requiring microbial activity or industrial composting conditions.”

Sources: https://www.energylivenews.com/2019/01/20/teysha-technologies-develops-biodegradable-plastic-alternatives/