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Superior BioCarbon 3D develops engineering grade wood-based 3D printer filament

Darrel Fry, CEO of ABC3D, at the MIDAS Fab Lab.  Image via MIDAS Fab Lab / Tracy Connery

A Canadian bioplastics company, Advanced BioCarbon 3D (ABC3D), has developed wood-based bioplastics for 3D printing.

ABC3D was founded in 2016 and was chosen as one of the world’s top five hundred deep tech startups by Hello Tomorrow, a French tech accelerator. ABC3D’s mission is to develop sustainable carbon-free plastics for 3D printing to mitigate the deteriorating environmental situation.

ABC3D environmental scientist Kim Klassen stated, “If extreme weather events continue to occur, it will disrupt every part of society. Therefore, climate change is important above all to other environmental issues, and this is exactly what this company is addressing through product development and sustainable bioplastics made from renewable raw materials. “

“Our products are CO2 negative, which not only reduces the impact on climate change, but also helps to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.”

Technical quality bioplastics

Although bioplastics are available in industry, the ultimate goal of ABC3D is to produce environmentally friendly bioplastics for technical applications. The company prides itself on the fact that its product is superior to other bioplastics made from renewable resources and is non-flammable and moisture-resistant.

Darrel Fry, CEO of ABC3D, said, “People often consider bioplastics to be single-use products with little functionality, but our products are incredibly highly functional, have exceptional heat resistance, and are lightweight at the same time. For example, our goal is to use this material to 3D print something like a piston for your car – it’s so heat-resistant and also very strong. “

Sustainable development

ABC3D’s bioplastic filament is made from scrap wood, so the company does not compete with forest companies. In fact, the wood used by ABC3D comes from poplar (or poplar) trees that are felled by forest companies during wood collection. And since there is no market for poplars, they stay in the forest.

The 3D printing filaments produced by ABC3D are a mixture of 60% plastic and 40% wood, which are mixed according to the method developed by ABC3D, in which resin is extracted from the waste wood. And the leftover wood is turned into a polymer. The resin is then added back to the plastic and this gives the material its heat-resistant and moisture-proof properties.

Classes explained the process, “The process uses green chemistry and starts with wood chips from the forest industry that are mixed with a solvent and subjected to a series of pressurized heating and cooling phases to extract the resin from the wood chips. All solvents from the manufacturing process are returned to the system for reuse. “

The biomaterial was developed with the help of a joint grant of US $ 300,000 granted to ABC3D and Selkirk College by a government-sponsored innovation cluster, Innovate BC.

ABC3D’s materials are currently being tested in the MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies) factory laboratory in Trail.

Darrel Fry, CEO of ABC3D, at the MIDAS Fab Lab. Image via MIDAS Fab Lab / Tracy Connery

ABC3D is currently scaling production to begin sales in Q1 2019. Fry said, “We aim to start sales of 3D filaments in Q1 2019 and then a range of different filaments with additional features such as carbon fiber reinforced filaments, conductive filaments, and filaments reinforced with other wood fibers through our first products which are mixed traditional printing filaments. “

“Our company proves that we can produce sustainable, economical and high-performance plastics from wood.”

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The picture shown shows wood samples from which the ABC3D filament was made. Image via MIDAS Fab Lab / Tracy Connery

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