Algae is an extremely cheap raw material and algae-made products have competitive advantages as they are friendly to the environment, nonpolluting and completely biodegradable.
Environmental pollution is a burning issue for the whole society. A series of projects, products and inventions have been created to partly settle the negative effects on the environment.
The students who make biodegradable bags from algae
The project on making bioplastics from algae is by Aplastic, a group of students from three universities.
The group comprises five members. Nguyen Dang Phuc from the Hanoi University of Water Resources is the coordinator of the project. Ninh Thi Thu from the same school is in charge of extracting and preparing materials.
|Different types of algae have different compositions. The students believe that with the diversity of algae in Vietnam, there is much space to develop the potential material further. The products all have been created from Vietnam’s algae.|
Meanwhile, Nguyen Chi Cuong is in charge of researching and improving materials. Dang Thi Khanh Ly from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities is in charge of planning the production and business. And Le Ngoc Mai from the Foreign Trade University takes the responsibility of advertising the products.
According to Nguyen Dang Phuc from the University of Water Resources, the pollution caused by plastic waste is a big problem all over the globe. Bioplastics have been proven as a potential alternative material. Scientists believe that bioplastics will account for 5 percent of plastics market by 2020 and the figure will rise to 40 percent by 2030.
Meanwhile, algae is a type of extremely sustainable material with very rapid biomass growth and are very profuse in Vietnam.
Many similar research works have been carried out in the world. However, most of them are basic research and they have not been shared. Therefore, the students had to do the research and development from the very beginning.
Different types of algae have different compositions. The students believe that with the diversity of algae in Vietnam, there is much space to develop the potential material further. The products all have been created from Vietnam’s algae.
With the project, Aplastic, with the motto ‘A for plastic’, wants to bring consumers high-quality plastic products that are friendly to the environment, and aims to spread the ‘green living’ movement in the community.
The extraction and fabrication of the environmentally-friendly material involves a number of basic steps. First, mash and separate into algae cells. After that, enhance the physico-mechanical water-resistant properties of the material with natural extracts to make the finished products safe to human and environmentally friendly.
At first, the biofilm had a weak link, was dissolvable in water just within 10 seconds, and easy to decompose but difficult to be preserved, and easily torn. But after a period of research and testing, the students successfully created a bioplastic membrane with good mechanical capacity and better water permeability which can even replace plastic products in healthcare.
Microalgae are being used as materials to reduce environmental pollution and create new-generation biofuels.
Tens of thousand of photographs have been taken by Do Trong Hoai An during his trekking trips throughout the country over the last 37 years, half of which relate to environmental protection.