NEC has announced the development of a new biomass-based plastic produced by bonding non-edible cellulose with cardanol, a primary component of cashew nut shells. The new bioplastic is said to achieve a level of durability that is suitable for use in electronic equipment and boasts a high plant composition ratio of more than 70 per cent.
The main ingredient of the new bioplastic is cellulose, which is of course found in plant stems and wood. The cellulose is bonded with oil-like cardanol – extracted from the often discarded byproduct of cashew nut agriculture – to produce a durable thermoplastic which is said to be strong, heat and water resistant and non-crystalline. Unlike other cellulose-based plastics, which can contain large amounts of petrochemical-based additives such as plasticizers, the new bioplastic features a high plant component ratio of more than 70 per cent.