New patent for Floreon technology strengthens PLA bioplastics

Innovative material will create opportunities for bioplastics in previously untapped applications.

A leading bioplastic technology company has been granted a patent for Floreon, an innovative bioplastic material. This unique technology produces a bioplastic that is much tougher and easier to process than current materials a development that is essential to extend the uses of bioplastics.

This new patent, which took just over four years to obtain, covers Floreon, a novel and biodegradable, polyester-based polymer blend with a standard bioplastic called polylactic acid, or PLA, which was developed  by Floreon Transforming Packaging Ltd.

Conventional PLA is produced from sustainable (plant) feedstock, which means it has a lower carbon footprint and non-renewable energy usage than any mineral‐based thermoplastic. However, until now it has been renowned for its poor toughness and tendency to lose strength on storage in warm conditions, which means its use has been restricted to niche areas.

Floreon addresses the need for a PLA-based bioplastic suitable for manufacturing degradable and compostable articles, but with improved technical, physical, chemical and thermal properties. Not only does Floreon have improved toughness, higher strength and durability compared to PLA, but also it is recyclable, biodegradable and requires far less energy to process compared to rival products.

Opening new opportunities for bioplastics

Improved mechanical properties and optimised flow rates mean Floreon can be used in a variety of process moulding techniques to produce a wide range of types and sizes of applications, including packaging trays, cutlery and thin walled injection moulded parts, where the use of PLA has been limited in the past. In addition, improved processing efficiency means production time and energy consumption have been greatly reduced.

Dr Andrew Gill, Floreon Technical Director explained the value of the new patent. “This patent is very important to us – as a technology led company it provides a competitive advantage that will enable us to create proprietary solutions that others cannot copy. By definition, patented compositions need to be novel and provide a benefit to society over previously available technology. So this patent, which protects our innovative bioplastic material called Floreon, is a clear demonstration that we have created a new way of gaining performance benefits not achievable by others.” 

Awareness of the need to reduce the amount of landfill waste and the desire to reduce dependence on fossil resources is increasing the interest shown in bio products by plastic processors and compounders. By delivering advanced technical properties, which increase product attractiveness and expand the range of uses for bioplastics, strong growth in demand for these materials is expected across the globe. 

Currently, the patent has been granted in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. This success gives CEO and company founder Shaun Chatterton real confidence that other patent offices will also approve the application.  “With global demand for bioplastics set to rise by around 20% per year, we can see a huge export potential for Floreon. We are delighted with these first patent approvals and are rapidly progressing patent applications across all major population centres including US &Canada, China and Europe. Our aim is to have global protection for our technology so that we can promote Floreon internationally.” 

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