Meet the Dutch studio that cultivates algae to produce bioplastic!

Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros believe this type of bioplastics could successfully replace synthetic plastics over time. In the technology they use, the cultivated algae are being dried and turned into a material for 3D printing. The algae polymer could be used to make everything from shampoo bottles to tableware.

The designers’ plans for the future include the ambitious idea of creating a network of biopolymer 3D printers “where you can ‘bake’ organic raw materials, just like fresh bread,”  comments Klarenbeek, calling this “the new craft and decentralized economy”.

Bioplastics made from algae approach environmental issues in several ways. It offers a solution to the vast consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels, which emit CO2 into the atmosphere when burnt to create materials like plastic, i.e. they support conservation of fossil resources and reduction in CO2 emissions. In the case of algae bioplastic, CO2 is involved in the process of bioplastic production. “The algae grow by absorbing the carbon and producing a starch that can be used as a raw material for bioplastics or binding agents. The waste product is oxygen, clean air.”  It is also a biodegradable alternative to conventional plastics that can stay in landfills for hundreds to a thousand years!

algae cultivation
The designers cultivate the living algae in the AlgaeLab at atelier LUMA in Arles, France.

algae bioplastics

Image is by Florent Gardin/ Source:


3D printing algae bioplastics
The algae are then being dried and processed into a material to be used to 3D print objects./ Image is by Florent Gardin/ Source:

#D printing with material made of algae

algae bioplastics

algae bioplastics

algae bioplastics

Photography is by Antoine Raab unless stated otherwise./


Dutch designers convert algae into bioplastic for 3D printing

Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros have developed a bioplastic made from algae, which they believe could completely replace synthetic plastics over time. Klarenbeek and Dros cultivate algae – aquatic plants – which they then dry and process into a material that can be used to 3D print objects.

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