The VTT National Technology Research Center (hereinafter referred to as VTT) announced the development of a 100% bio-based biodegradable material in early July. This new material is suitable for furniture applications and is a substitute for wood and various biocomposites already on the market.
VTT claims that the product's appeal is that it has advantages over some existing materials. Not only because of its biodegradability, but also because of its formability and coloring properties.
Lisa Wikström, head of the VTT research team, commented on this new product: “This product fulfills all of our pre-set goals: the material is completely bio-based, the cellulose fiber accounts for a large proportion, and the appearance is excellent and the performance is excellent.”
While this material may be a promising alternative to plastics, Wikström added: “‘breakthrough progress’ has not yet arrived. A major shift requires collaboration between materials, process developers and designers.”
The office chair designed by VTT, Plastec Finland and KO-HO Industrial was the first to be used for this new material. The chair is produced using traditional compound injection molding techniques made from lignocellulosic fibers, degradable, thermoformable polylactic acid, and bio-based additives. Products made from new materials can be reused, composted or incinerated at the end of their life cycle.