KAWANISHI, Japan, March 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Conventional petroleum-based products not only contribute toward global warming via increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but also add non-biodegradable wastes in our landfills and oceans. These issues can be overcome by accelerating research and development of biomass-based raw materials and products. In a new review, researchers in Japan focus on many such bioplastics and biomaterials that can be shaped into eco-friendly products and chemicals, paving the way for a plastic-free sustainable future.
Words like “Climate Change” and “Plastic Pollution” aren’t just words we see on news headlines anymore. These factors are actively affecting life on earth. Society’s dependence on petroleum-based products and fuels has accelerated the rate of global warming due to increased carbon dioxide emissions. Another factor that is disrupting ecosystems is plastics. Once produced, they are here to stay for hundreds of years without degrading. Only a fraction of the plastics produced get recycled each year. The rest end up in landfills and oceans, polluting groundwater, breathing air, choking aquatic life, and contaminating our food chain.
These issues call for immediate mitigation measures, which is exactly what entrepreneur Dr. Ryohei Mori and his team at Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd. has set out to do. Their Green Science Alliance initiative focuses on the development of green technology for a carbon-neutral society. In a tutorial review published on January 3, 2023 in RSC Sustainability (https://doi.org/10.1039/D2SU00014H), Dr. Mori elaborates on ways to replace all petroleum-based chemical products with biomass-based chemical products.
Discussing the motivation behind their research and mission Dr. Mori says, “Nowadays, living organisms and the environment are not only contaminated by micro-plastics but also nanoplastic in the air. Apart from just talking about these problems, I would like to offer and explain actual technologies that can be put to use. We aim to head toward a direction where environmentally friendly products are the convention.”
In the review, he explains in detail the different categories of petroleum and biomass-based non-biodegradable and biodegradable plastics, their production methods, applications, and impact on health and the environment. He also writes about the synthesis methods for a wide range of biomass alternatives such as wood or stone-based thermoplastic materials, biodegradable yarn for textiles, resin for molding products like bottles, and natural glues, inks, and paints. In addition, he has also developed nature biomass based resin, fuel, glue, nano cellulose, natural rubber, biomass derived textile cosmetic, coated fertilizer, biomass based plasticizer, lubricant, nano cellulose, biomass based 3D printer resin, UV curable resin, biomass biodegradable cosmetic nail tips etc… All of these chemical products are made of nature biomass origin and most of them are developed and starting business in his company, Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd.
Dr. Mori further explains that biodegradable doesn’t always mean good. The degraded bits of plastic from biomass-based products are sufficiently safe, whereas the ones from petroleum plastics can be potentially dangerous owing to the presence of harmful chemical additives. The article also highlights how microplastics are introduced into the food chain, how single-use plastics result in 141 million tons of unrecycled plastic across the globe, and how petroleum-based plasticizers such as phthalates can act as potential endocrine (hormonal) disruptors. It provides a well-rounded perspective on cost challenges and raw material shortages faced when replacing conventional materials with biomaterials and bioplastics.
The team at Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd. Group has already developed several biomass, plant-derived biodegradable plastics, resins, inks, coating, etc., that are being manufactured for small-scale applications. However, Dr. Mori is hopeful that their learnings from years of research can be extended and scaled up for large-scale commercial production of greener alternatives. For this purpose, he is planning to raise fund from investors to accelerate the production, manufacturing and this environmentally friendly business.
“Although achieving the ‘no more petroleum, no more fossil fuels’ goal seems difficult at present, it is a challenge worth our efforts toward creating a sustainable society with lower fossil fuel dependence, lesser emissions, and minimal plastic pollution,” concludes Dr. Mori.
For a sustainable, cleaner future, this is a very timely vision, and we wish Dr. Mori and his team good luck.
Authors: Ryohei Mori
Title of original paper: Replacing all petroleum-based chemical products with natural biomass-based chemical products: a tutorial review
Journal: RSC Sustainability
Affiliations: Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd, Japan
About Dr. Ryohei Mori
Dr. Ryohei Mori is currently the CEO of Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd. He received his bachelor’s degree from Kyoto Institute of Technology, his master’s degree and Ph.D. in Molecular engineering from Kyoto University, and his General Management Program degree from Harvard Business School. Currently, he leads a chemical company with more than 100 employees, mainly engaged in the colorants business, and has developed biodegradable plastics and various natural biomass-based chemical products as new businesses. He is also developing next generation type rechargeable battery, fuel cell, solar cell and CO2 capture and conversion technology. Their final goal is to replace all petroleum-derived chemicals with natural biomass and plant-derived products.
SOURCE Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd.