233: Biodegradable rope


Nylon ropes may be tough, but they are not biodegradable.


In 2016  a research team from the CSIR–Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar, Gujarat developed a biodegradable material made of seaweed extracts to replace synthetic ropes that are used in seaweed farming and other applications.

Polysaccharides extracted from three seaweed species Gracilaria dura, Gelidiella acerosa and Kappaphyucus al varezi, were first heated and then treated with potassium persulphate, vinyl acetate and glycerol to make them tolerant to saline water.

Intermas Nets SA of Llinars del Valles, Barcelona, Spain is one of the world leaders in the manufacture of extruded mesh. It works in particular in the field of aquaculture for oyster bags and / or rack screens. It has developed a compostable and biodegradable rope. The Biorope begins to decompose from 58 degrees in an on-land composter and three months are enough to degrade it entirely.

On the other hand, Biorope retains its mechanical properties at sea. Tests on the catining nets show the durability of the material in the marine environment, submerged and emerged. A hemp end  lasts 3 to 4 months when the catinage net will hold for more than a year and even longer for the Biorope end.

With negative buoyancy and high elasticity, the biorope tip could find applications in boating, especially as a hawser. The mooring of buoys or pontoons for port managers is also possible. Objective: replace 15 to 20% of plastic ropes.

In November 2019, BIOGEARS, an innovative project funded by the European Union under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, set out to develop biobased gear solutions for the creation of an eco-friendly offshore aquaculture sector using a multitrophic approach and new biobased value chains.

This will include biobased ropes that though durable and fit-for-purpose, still biodegrade in a shorter time; With EU-funded running until 2022 partners in the consortium include Azti, Gaiker and Itsaskorda from Spain, Centexbel from Belgium and Intrigo from Ireland.

There are other manufactures of biodegradable rope: 366 has already featured hemp (Solution N° xx)

Discover Solution 234: H&M’s Looop

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