The award was presented during the international conference Natural Fibertastics. In a room full of specialists, Bakker told how he came into contact last year with the research team around Albert Albers and Gadi Rothenberg of the University of Amsterdam. They had invented a 100% vegetable thermoset plastic that can compete with the ‘fossil’ polyurethane (PU) foam, which is frequently used in insulation materials.
‘Our product is distinctive because it is 100% bio-based, 100% biodegradable, 100% recyclable and 100 times stronger than PU. The degree of degradability is adjustable, depending on the application. The material is also incombustible and does not release any toxic substances even when heated, ‘says Bakker. This is an important difference with PU panels containing isocyanates or formaldehyde.
Plantics has now entered the market with wooden sandwich panels fitted with biobased foam and with biodegradable plant pots. However, the market potential is enormous: one fifth of the total worldwide plastic market now consists of fossil thermoset plastics, which is a total of 60 million tons per year. A 100% biobased thermoset plastic, which is also cost-effective, is not yet on the market. Plantics wants to supply it as resin, soft or hard foam, granulate and composites.