SciFest National Final 2023

Stand 16

Sustainability: Biomaterials and Bioplastics - A Focus Towards a Circular Economy

Student Angelina O'Neill
School Presentation College, Headford, Co. Galway
Teacher John Toner
Venue ATU Galway

Climate change is creating a human crisis that could be irreversible by 2030. Over 1 million of our species now face extinction. We are using more resources than the earth can renew. (

The motivation for my project was to raise awareness and bring attention to the alarmingly dangerous environmental zone we are currently in. Shocking pollution and massive quantities of harmful waste could be avoided by adopting new materials and developing more ecological methods of treatment, design and production of our goods.

My project focuses on researching, exploring and creating novel alternatives to harmful and toxic products. I experimented with different natural materials, paper-making techniques, invasive species, waste products, mycelium and bacterial cellulose and I tested their aerobic and anaerobic biodegradability.

In order to make these biomaterials suitable for the real world, I evaluated different methods of combining their mechanical and chemical properties by using and/or changing the molecular structure of different materials such as agar, chitosan, alginates, cellulose, etcetera. This allowed me to obtain an array of different bioplastics, fabrics, papers, “leathers” and other materials which I further developed to create clothing and household items, packaging, printing paper, bandages and more.

Hence this project illustrates the scientific and industrial potentials of these novel biomaterials, adapting them to suit the requirements of the technological, design, fashion, culinary and medical fields. By doing so I hope to lead the way to a cleaner, more ecological, and sustainable future.

Poster Click here
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