Effective sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) by algae reduces greenhouse gases effect on global warming. Algae biomass or residual such as biomeal from algae biofuel processing can be judiciously used for industrial applications such as fertilizer, animal feed, and plastics. Conversion of algae into useful plastic materials can be accomplished by extrusion technology. During algal plastic manufacturing, up to 2% thermoplastic algal blends can be fixated into or encapsulated by a non-biodegradable polymer such as polyolefin, which is known to be resistant to abiotic or biotic degradation. As a result, CO2 that is captured by algae through photosynthesis is permanently stored in a form of biomass and will not be released back into the atmosphere. The extrusion of microalgae reported in this article is a novel process to sequester CO2 and at the same time it makes a good use of the algae biomass in plastic manufacturing. Mechanical properties of the thin plastic films containing microalgae are comparable to the neat polyurethane or polyethylene films. Injection molded articles containing microalgae are dimensionally stable. However, a lower tensile strength, especially elongation at break, is observed in comparison to the neat polypropylene.
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