VPZ Graz helps Alginsulate foam to market readiness 

The seemingly inexhaustible resources of the world´s oceans are becoming ever more interesting for various industries. Algae, as quickly renewable, self-regenerating raw material which is available in unlimited quantities, are conceivable as a base material for various products.

In cooperation with the TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY, GRAZ, a new process for the production of environmentally friendly foam was developed. Intensive laboratory studies have shown that Algae species suitable for the process can be found globally. Aerated algal cellulose is insoluble in water, light and bio-degradable. No environmentally harmful compounds are released during any part of the production sequence.

Air is used during the aeration of the ALGINSULATE-FOAM, so no harmful foaming gases (CFC) are used. The production process is very simple. It requires only limited apparatus and machinery. At very low investment costs, it is possible to use the method decentralized and in small plants, whilst still remaining economical. The possibilities for application of this futuristic technology are the packaging industry, but the material is also suitable as insulation material for the construction industry and for other usage applications. Tests have shown that ALGINSULATE-FOAM has natural flame-retardant properties.

The principles for the ALGINSULATE-PROCESS were developed by the INSTITUTE FOR PROCESS- AND PARTICLE TECHNOLOGY OF THE TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY, GRAZ in cooperation with the UNIVERSIDAD DE MAGALLANES, Punta Arenas, Chile. Based on this preliminary work the ALGINSULATE-FOAM research project was to bring the algal cellulose to market readiness. This project was initiated by the PACKAGING-CENTRE, GRAZ, a packaging wholesaler that has specialised itself in the marketing of semi-natural packaging, and who would open up the market for the new product. For further development in a pilot plant, the ALGOTEC development- and evaluation.m.b.H. was founded with the plant engineers ATU Ferlach.

The primary objective of this research project is a final judgement as to whether and in what form this method can be used industrially. With the existing work in this area we have demonstrated the basic feasibility of the process. The further steps should now go in the direction of technological development, above all in the direction of process modification, optimization of product properties and -design. The international patent has been granted. The project received funding from the Research Promotion Agency.

Source: Packaging-Center Graz
Read the original article here.

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