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Bloodmeal bioplastic business secures investor

30 Apr, 2013

Hamilton-based Aduro Biopolymers, a spin-out company formed by WaikatoLink, is currently developing a novel bioplastic made from waste bloodmeal. The idea has captured the attention of and investment from the Wallace Corporation.

The Wallace Corporation is New Zealand’s largest rendering business, which already produces a variety of coproducts from the meat processing industry.

Bioplastics from meat and poultry byproducts

“Aduro Biopolymers has developed an innovative method for the production of bioplastics made from byproducts of the red meat and poultry industries,” says Graham Shortland, CEO of Wallace Corporation, in a press release. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to turn new and existing raw materials into higher-value products in order to sustainably deliver superior returns to our meat processing partners.”

Duncan Mackintosh, the Chief Executive of WaikatoLink says, “Aduro Biopolymers is a great example of an early stage innovative company based on publicly funded research. It’s encouraging to see a successful established company like Wallace Corporation value this innovation and its commercial promise as part of its strategy. This partnership will help the success of Aduro and open up new opportunities too.”

Novatein bioplastic

Aduro Polymers aim is to develop environmentally conscious materials for the manufacturing and construction sectors. The company says the bioplastic, called Novatein, will be price competitive with petrochemical plastics.

The global plastics market is worth over a trillion dollars, with bioplastics currently representing 5–10% of that market, although this percentage is predicted to rise sharply in the future.

Low capital costs

Darren Harpur, Acting CEO of Aduro Biopolymers says, “The manufacturing process for Novatein is quite simple. This means the capital costs required to commence manufacture will be relatively low and should enable the cost-effective production of Novatein. There is a growing demand for environmentally friendly plastics, but they need to be at the right price point for consumers. We are confident we can achieve this price point with Novatein.”

The science behind the bioplastic came from and is being developed by the University of Waikato’s Dr Johan Verbeek and his team. Bloodmeal produced by the red meat industry is processed into granules that have been modified and optimised to suit a chosen product’s attributes.

Bioplastics that degrade quickly

The granules can then be manufactured into injection moulded or extruded products using industry standard equipment. Mr Harpur says Novatein will help solve some of the problematic effects of plastics on the environment by introducing to the market a bioplastic made from naturally occurring materials that on their own quickly degrade in the environment. “We think that this aspect combined with a simple manufacturing process will enable our technology to be adopted quite rapidly.”

Aduro Biopolymers is working with commercial partners in New Zealand and Australia to develop Novatein for a range of product lines. The company is also looking to work with New Zealand research organisations to develop new and novel materials from other natural resource polymers.

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