The unique invention of biodegradable plastics from renewable materials attracted the attention of wide public and companies. The latter intend to use the invention in production.
The Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava is currently taking a step forward: the Centre for Applied Research of Environment Friendly Polymer Materials was open on Thursday, 18 June 2015.
The Centre was established in cooperation of the STU Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology with the commercial sector. Purchase of the Centre equipment was financially supported by ASFEU – the SR Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science and Research and Sports for the EU Structural Funds (within the project of Modernization and Completion of the R&D Infrastructure and Equipment for the Centre for Applied Research of Environment-Friendly Polymeric Materials).
The advanced equipment makes the Centre a top workplace in the field of plastics processing technologies, as it allows testing the properties of new materials and evaluation of their structure. The Centre focuses on the research and development of new polymer materials and technology transfer from laboratory to industrial practice.
Scientists of the Centre along with enterprises are currently investigating the application of the unique invention of biodegradable plastics in practice. The invention developed in the common workplace of the STU and the Slovak Academy of Sciences Institute of Polymers has been filed for the Slovak and world patent application.
Production of bio-plastics is based on two components: polylactic acid made from starch, and polyhydroxybutyrate, a biomaterial produced by bacteria. Such composition makes bioplastics totally biodegradable in nature. In the compost, they decompose to biomass, water and CO2. CO2 does not pose a problem for the environment since plants such as corn or sugarcane need CO2 to grow.
“In cooperation with the business sector, we are currently testing utilisation of the new plastics in larger volumes in the production of pilot batches. The Centre comprises a line simulating the conditions of the organic materials production for packaging in larger volumes. We are verifying the application of bioplastics in 3D printing for the fields of healthcare, production of containers for food, medications, bottles and other products”, explains Pavel Alexy of the Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology.
Besides the organic polymer products made of bioplastics, the Centre will provide technical and professional services and consultancy to a wide range of plastics-processing enterprises. Analytical and test methods available in the Centre along with qualified staff can help producers and plastics-processing enterprises effectively improve their technology processes.
The Centre will also be available for the research and development organizations, facilitating their involvement in the national and international projects in the field of polymer chemistry and technology. Also, the Centre will train professionals in the field of the polymer processing technology.
The STU Centre was opened in Nitra, Krškanská cesta 21. In case of interest, contact Professor Pavol Alexy of the Slovak University of Technology, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology in Bratislava.