20. Oct 2020
LG Chem has successfully developed a new biodegradable material potentially with mechanical properties and transparency equivalent to synthetic resins such as PP, the company announced October 19.
The new material offers significantly improved flexibility (elongation) and transparency compared to existing biodegradable materials. This has been achieved through proprietary technologies and production processes.
LG Chem’s new bioplastic is a single biodegradable, 100% biobased material derived from corn-based glucose and crude glycerol.
Existing biodegradable materials require other plastic materials or additives to be mixed in, in order to obtain the desired properties and flexibility, but the new biodegradable material developed by LG Chem is a homogenous unimaterial.
In particular, flexibility, which is a core factor, was improved by more than 20 times compared to existing biodegradable products, thus making it possible to maintain transparency even after processing. A ripple effect is expected in the eco-friendly packaging industry, where biodegradable materials commonly find application.
Existing biodegradable materials have been used as non-transparent packaging material products due to the nature of mixed materials.
In addition, as global disposable product usage regulations are becoming stricter throughout the European Union and elsewhere around the globe, demand for biodegradable materials is likely to grow for use in applications such as plastic bags, air cap buffers, disposable cups, foaming products and mask felts, and the like.
According to a market survey firm, the biodegradable materials market is expected to grow by 15% a year from 4.2 trillion KRW in 2019 to 9.7 trillion KRW in 2025.
Building on its proprietary platform technologies for core biodegradable materials, LG Chem was able to successfully develop the new material. LG Chem possesses a total of 25 domestic and foreign patents such as for biodegradable polymers, composites, production method, etc. through preemptive patent applications.
The LG Chem Future Technology Research Center developed technologies to enhance the molecular weight of core biodegradable materials and to polymerize them, thus successfully developing new biodegradable materials with properties unlike earlier, existing materials.
LG Chem recently received confirmation from the German biodegradable materials international certification agency ‘DIN CERTCO that the new material met the industrial biodegradable European certification standards. According to the agency, over 90% of the newly developed biodegradable material decomposed within 120 days.
LG Chem plans to accelerate its entry into the biodegradable materials market based on new technologies it has procured while also expediting procurement of bio materials to expand its business. It is scheduled to conduct prototype evaluations for client companies in 2022 with the goal of mass production in 2025.
LG Chem CTO / President Kisu Ro said, “In a time where there is growing interest around the world on eco-friendly materials, it is very meaningful that we successfully developed biodegradable platform materials with proprietary technologies using 100% bio ingredients.”
He added, “We will concentrate on R&D in the eco-friendly materials sector and become a leading company for a virtuous circulation of resources and for protecting the ecosystem.”