Mississippi Patent of the Month – April 2023

ALGIX, Inc. has made an exciting breakthrough in the creation of sustainable, eco-friendly thermoplastic compositions. By incorporating algae biomass into their resin blends, they have created a material that can be used in a variety of consumer goods, including footwear and other related industries.

One of the biggest advantages of this algae-based thermoplastic is its sustainability. Algae is a fast-growing, renewable resource that can be harvested without harming the environment. By using algae in their resin blends, ALGIX is able to create a material that is biodegradable, reducing the impact on the environment when the products reach the end of their life cycle.

As consumers become increasingly eco-conscious, demand for sustainable products is on the rise. ALGIX’s algae-based thermoplastic compositions are a great solution for manufacturers looking to meet this demand thanks to their foaming properties; these materials can be used to create flexible thermoplastic foams that are perfect for short-lived products.  

The process for creating algae-based thermoplastics is relatively straightforward. First, the algae biomass is ground into a fine powder and then dried to a moisture content of less than 15% by weight. This dried algae powder is then mixed with a thermoplastic resin that has been preheated to the desired temperature and viscosity. Additives, plasticizers, and foaming agents can also be added at this stage to create the desired properties. The resulting blend is then dispersed and formed into the final product or end-product using standard manufacturing techniques.

Founded in 2010, Algix spent 2 years developing and refining the extrusion process, as well as developing a harvesting and drying technology, thus creating a commercially viable operation. In 2014, Algix secured a 70,000 sq. ft. modern manufacturing facility in Meridian, Mississippi: the heart of catfish country, where they could research and utilize algae from both lakes around the world and right in their backyard. In 2016, BLOOM, an Algix brand, launched the world’s first algae-blended EVA to the footwear industry as a sustainable ingredient in flexible foams for high rebound applications such as shoes, sporting products, and accessories.

ALGIX’s algae-based thermoplastic compositions represent a major step forward in the creation of sustainable, eco-friendly materials. They put their discovery to the test in designing their own algae-based footwear, and are now ready to let other manufacturers take the jump to sustainability.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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