NEC develops bioplastic material using plant-based resin

Japanese information technology company NEC has collaborated with Kyoto Institute of Technology and Japan's lacquerware artist Yutaro Shimode to develop a bioplastic material.

The new material is developed using resin produced from grasses, trees, and other non-edible plant resources. These feature a traditional colour of Japanese lacquerware, Urushi black.

NEC's IoT devices research laboratories research fellow Masatoshi Iji said: “In response to the depletion of resources and food shortage problems, the need for non-edible-plant-based plastics is increasing.

“In addition to NEC's history in the development of a unique cellulose-based plastic (NeCycle(R)) using non-edible plant materials for use in durable electronic products, we have now developed a new bioplastic that, in addition to high functionality, realises the decorativeness of Japanese lacquerware, which is highly evaluated throughout the world and illustrates a beauty well beyond what petroleum-based plastics can provide.”

For creating the cellulose-based bioplastic, NEC designed a new technology for mixing additives, which adjusts colouration and light reflectance.

The company claims the new material is environmentally friendly and can be produced on a large scale in different shapes and sizes through a regular molding process used for plastics.

In the near future, NEC plans to partner with various organisations for commercialising the new bioplastic material, which can be used for producing durable products as well as interior components of a luxury car.

Image: NEC creates cellulose-based bioplastic material. Photo: Courtesy of NEC Corporation.