Developing bioplastics in the agricultural industry
Feb 25 2022
Biopolymer innovator Teysha Technologies have joined the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) to research, test and develop bioplastics for the agricultural industry in the UK. The opportunity will allow Teysha to expand as the start up further commercialises in the UK, utilising the Eastern Agritech Innovation Hub near Cambridge. The Hub will be the focal point for developing and testing new sustainable materials and bioplastics to tackle growing plastic pollution as well as investigating waste feedstock options within British agricultural operations.
The first innovation to be delivered from the new Teysha laboratory will be a series of new polyester composite materials. Their purpose will be to replace some products that are currently based on petrochemical plastics, as well as improve the biodegradability of existing bioplastics such as polylactic acid. Unlike other polymer manufacturing processes, the synthesis of Teysha’s materials generates zero chemical by-products for disposal. Its properties make it susceptible to microbial breakdown, a desirable benefit for applications like packaging.
Teysha’s new polyester composites show promise as plastic alternatives across industries like agriculture and horticulture. For example, British gardeners go through 500 million plastic plant pots a year that are either incinerated or sent to landfills. On average they take an estimated 450 years to degrade and in the process may release toxic additives, dyes and microplastics into the environment. To address this, Teysha is targeting the development of alternatives using polyester composites. The goal is to prototype alternative options that provide additional plant nourishment while also having the ability to either biodegrade or be composted.
“This opportunity to work with the NIAB will allow us to further develop innovative, sustainable materials that can replace harmful plastics in industries like agriculture, as well as examine waste feedstocks for our range of biopolymers.” Said Matthew Stone, Managing Director of Teysha Technologies. “Working with such an important UK institution will also accelerate commercialisation in the UK.”
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