Location: Bioproducts Research
Project Number: 2030-41000-067-010-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Mar 1, 2022
End Date: Feb 28, 2024
Develop seaweed-based packaging films that are thermally processable and biodegradable. The goal of this project is to create a home-compostable alternative to flexible plastics derived from seaweed. The end product should match or exceed the performance of traditional, low density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic packaging. Optimization of Sway's existing seaweed-based formulation for compatibility with standard blown-film extrusion processes will be studied. This will be accomplished through small-scale formulation optimization efforts utilizing the USDA’s melt mixer, twin screw extruder, carver press, and analytical, mechanical, thermal testing equipment. Sourcing a lab scale blown film extruder will occur external to the USDA.
The Agricultural Research Service, Bioproducts Research Unit at the Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California has considerable research experience in technologies for making biodegradable packaging with dozens of peer-reviewed publications with emphasis on biodegradable plastics, such films. The technologies utilized include blow molding and film casting or extrusion. This research all falls within the parameters of resesarch project # 2030-41000-067-00D. We identified Sway as a strategic partner to develop biobased films from seaweed for packaging applications.