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Notícias Internacionais / 14/06/2021

WORLD NEWS

Researcher creates popcorn-based styrofoam

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Researcher creates popcorn-based styrofoam


A German researcher was enjoying popcorn at the cinema when he realized that, soaked in butter, it was exactly the same size as those 'styrofoam peanuts' used to transport products.

Styrofoam as is made of polystyrene and requires fossil fuel extraction. It takes centuries to decompose, even longer if it's microplastic size.

Alireza Kharazipour decided to invest in research with corn grains to replace these toxic packaging for nature and the environment. And it worked!

The products are very light because the popcorn granules are filled with air like honeycombs,” Kharazipour told Fast Company. "When the corn grain turns into popcorn, the volume increases 15% to 20%."

“Our popcorn packaging is a great sustainable alternative to polystyrene that is derived petroleum,” said Stefan Schult, Executive Director of Nordgetreide, which produces the material.

Granulated popcorn

Kharazipour's team, the University of Göttingen, created what he calls “granulated popcorn”.

That is, scientists took the corn residues produced in the manufacture of corn flakes and filled them with steam, creating the chemistry needed to transform them.

Popcorn-based packaging can be made any type of corn and is fully biodegradable.

Large pieces can be compressed into shapes to contain different products and can be easily sawn into pieces, either to cut into precise shapes or to shred at the end of their useful life.

Licensing

The brilliance of Kharazipour's idea earned him an exclusive licensing agreement with a medium-sized grain and cereal company in Europe called Nordgetreide to manufacture various popcorn packaging products.

Annually, in the United States alone, around 3 million tons of polystyrene are produced, which is a lot considering that it is 95% air.


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