In the search for technological solutions in support of a sustainable economy

In Channel 24 hours a new chapter of the series “Explorers, from the atom to the cosmos” was released, this time dedicated to UDT‘s work and contributions of a applied science of the Region of the Bíobío and the country. Dr. Alex Berg, UDT’s Executive Director, talked with the journalist Nicolás Vial, about the beginnings of the center, how it has been approaching companies through the proposal of sustainable technological solutions and some research and development examples that takes place in the center.

The increasing pressure of the use of ecosystem services on the planet, has led to raise the need for a world new order, known as the green economy era or bioeconomy, as the necessary path to have a future not only economic, but as a species. This new order requires products capable of replacing those that are highly polluting, such as those derived from fossil materials, making the resources use more efficient and taking advantage of waste creatively.
Under these premises the Technological Development Unit, UDT, of the Universidad de Concepción, has been a pioneer in generating scientific knowledge that translates into technological solutions and innovation that impact the productive sector and society, to contribute significantly to the development of the Bioeconomy in Chile. In UDT a constant flow is established between academic work, applied research and industry world, also promoting the industrial and regional development of the Biobío region.

The topics discussed in this chapter are:

Pyrolysis of plastics, another recycling alternative

The pollution generated by plastic waste is a serious environmental problem throughout the planet. Looking for new ways to recycle this material, in UDT have developed a pilot pyrolysis plant, which allows to degrade the plastic and turn it into waxes and fuels of high commercial value.

Insulating panels made with forest residues

Good management of waste from the forest industry is a permanent challenge, especially in the Biobío Region, the country’s main timber center. In UDT several initiatives have been developed that give new life to forest waste, among which is an insulating panel based on eucalyptus bark, which could replace less ecological alternatives such as glass wool or polyethylene.

Bioplastics, manufacturing biodegradable products

The traditional plastics’s biggest drawback is that this material takes hundreds of years to degrade, generating serious environmental consequences. A new generation of compostable bioplastics capable of degrading in just 180 days is contributing to solve the environmental problem that this material produces. In UDT are creating various types of bioplastics from such innovative materials as agricultural waste or algae, some of which are already successfully reaching the market.