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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Research Project #441450

Research Project: Seaweed-based Packaging

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, 2023

Objective:
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.

Approach:
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.