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Category: Environment

Researchers Create New Algae-Based Polyurethane Production Method

Whether finding ways to extend the life of polyurethane materials or even make the manufacturing process more efficient, scientists and researchers are continually looking for new ways to make polyurethane more sustainable.

One group of researchers at University of California San Diego may have found a way. The team has created renewable polymers that use algae – a plant-like organism that makes food from sunlight via photosynthesis – as their basis.

If successful, the algae-based polymers will be used to create polyurethane found in a number of everyday household items, like couch cushions, office chairs and more.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has given the scientists a $2 million grant to develop new methods to produce the algae-based polymers further. The grant will be used by the researchers not only to speed the creation of the polymers from algae but also to accelerate the algae-growing process.The grant is part of a larger $80 million effort from the DOE’s Bio Energy Technologies Office, which was recently established to support 36 current projects – focusing on bio-energy research and development. The goal is to find new and innovative ways of bringing bio-based products – including algae-based polymers – to market.