Mattel’s biobased building blocks, world’s 1st fuel-cell powered train, self-healing “Frankenstein” concrete, potato starch produce packaging, and more: The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of January 30th

January 29, 2020 |

From big companies like Mattel and their first building block sets made from bioplastics, to smaller innovators and entrepreneurs, the bioeconomy had a busy week with innovations. A new plant-based faux fur that incorporates SORONA, a corn-based fiber manufactured by DuPont and produce packaging made from potato starch offer new, better alternatives. Also fascinating are the scientists in Colorado who created a self-healing “Frankenstein” concrete – living concrete substitute using cyanobacteria, a type of algae, that absorbs carbon and can actually repair itself.

In today’s Digest, get the details on the week’s Top 10 Innovations like the living concrete, the world’s 1st fuel-cell powered train, Mattel’s biobased block sets, potato starch produce packaging, plant-based faux fur, and more – and it’s ready for you now at The Digest online.

#1 Sashay away, petroleum: Ecopel launches plant-based faux fur

In Shanghai, Ecopel has launched a partially plant-based faux fur dubbed KOBA. The new material incorporates SORONA, a corn-based fiber manufactured by DuPont.

While animal fur has come under pressure from animal rights activists and fallen out of fashion with major designers, to date most faux fur options have used petroleum-based materials.

“Faux fur, and other synthetics, have the potential to be part of a closed-loop system that isn’t possible for animal-derived fabrics,” says Ecopel Communications Manager Arnaud Brunois. “Millions more animals will always have to be brought to life to keep the trade alive.”

Gucci, Michael Kors, Versace, Burberry, Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Prada have all pledged to stop using fur in their collections, according to

In addition to being plant-based, KOBA uses 30% less energy to produce and emits 63% less greenhouse gases than petroleum-based faux fur. Ecopel is also working on producing faux fur from waste plastic bottles.
More on the story, here.

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