Biome’s Bioplastics division announces the successful completion of its three-month feasibility project to develop and test a new generation of biodegradable tree shelters to be manufactured from the Company’s bioplastics.
Tree shelters protect young trees and bushes from predation by animals. They are a well-proven and economic route to limiting losses in the first five years of a tree’s life. Traditionally made from oil-based and non-biodegradable plastics, the majority of such shelters are never collected and eventually litter the environment with microplastics.
In the UK, around 45 million trees are planted each year, most of those using non-biodegradable tree shelters for protection, with an estimated 2,500 tons of persistent plastics ending up annually in the natural environment after use. Plans to significantly increase tree planting as part of the UK’s drive to mitigate climate change will exacerbate these problems.
The initial feasibility project has allowed the Company to explore the performance of a variety of bioplastic materials in this application and culminated in the manufacture of prototypes at Biome’s customer’s premises.
The polymers that Biome are using in this project are bio-based and biodegradable. Some are novel and represent some of the results of over six years and £6.5 million of directed investment in research collaboration between Biome and a number of the UK’s leading universities. The development of biodegradable tree shelters is the first potential commercial application arising from this collaborative group’s endeavours. The polymers used in this particular project are partly based on furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) monomeric building blocks. More information regarding the processes for the formation of FDCA can be found on the Company’s website.
This feasibility project was supported by a funding contract between Biome and the UK Government’s agency, Innovate UK, as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund (SBRI Phase 1). The Company has tendered for a further contract under SBRI Phase 2 with a view to starting large-scale field trials of novel biodegradable tree shelters during 2021.
To provide investors with more details on the scientific approach to this project and its future path to prospective commercialisation, the Company has commissioned a short explanatory video that can be viewed below: