TOKYO, Japan — Electronics company NEC has developed a bioplastic made with an extract from cashew nut shells and plant cellulose that is twice as strong as another bioplastic typically made from corn starch.
NEC says its using only non-edible plant resources to make its bioplastic, which is 70 percent plant material. That portion is mainly cellulose that is modified with cardanol, an oil-like material taken from cashew shells and a byproduct from cashew processing.
The company says its material is twice as strong, more than twice as heat resistant and molds in half the time as bioplastic made from polylactic acid resin, which is typically derived from corn starch or sugarcane. NEC's bioplastic is also three times more water resistant and almost one and half times more heat resistant than bioplastic made from cellulose acetate.
NEC plans to continue research on the bioplastic and work towards mass production of the material, expecting to make it available for use in electronics by mid-2014.
Cashew shells - CC license by Flickr user thekingofmixedfeelings