The Biopolymer Network & Barnes Plastics

A New Zealand Research Commercialisation Success Story

Zealafoam™ - An Exciting and Sustainable Alternative to Polystyrene

Through a partnership with Barnes Plastics (Barnes), the Biopolymer Network Ltd (BPN) is developing a cost-effective, environmentally friendly process to make a bioplastic foam alternative to polystyrene from sustainable, renewable resources.

ZealaFoam™ is an innovative product which is a low density moulded bioplastic (PLA) foam. This is an exciting and ground breaking alternative to polystyrene with comparative performance.

The Biopolymer Network has developed and patented a novel process to enable the impregnation of bioplastic beads with carbon dioxide and have implemented specialised industry scale impregnation equipment in the Barnes Plastics factory in Auckland to do this.

The impregnated material is foamed and moulded on existing polystyrene equipment at Barnes, negating the need for additional capital investment to produce a new range of biobased products for both packaging and sporting applications.

Bringing together BPN’s polymer and PLA expertise, and Barnes Plastics’ extensive knowledge of foaming and moulding, the two teams are working closely to overcome the technical challenge of taking a new material to market.

Industry interest in the foam is high and already trial product has been requested by, and supplied to, a large global company in the USA for testing. If successful, this will bring new business to New Zealand.