Investors are putting a lot of money into bioplastic ventures. But the jury is still out on their environmental benefit They were panned in a recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Now comes an announcement from Unilever that bioplastics won’t be part of an aggressive sustainability program in packagingUnilever makes this comment:
“Bioplastics are derived from renewable resources. But this does not mean that they are sustainable when all the environmental impacts and issues around their growth, production and subsequent disposal are taken into consideration.”
That’s a pretty broad-brush statement considering all of the technologies being investigated for renewably sourced packaging materials Unilever’s overall dismissal of this technology may be unwarranted But who really knows for sure? The companies with a stake in the plants-to-plastics projects need to make more convincing cases of their environmental benefits
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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