Companies team up to develop greener plastic

Japanese companies are teaming up with a leading university to produce a new kind of plastic that should help cut CO2 emissions.

The group aims to develop the technology to mass-produce plastic from organic materials, known as "biomass." The key component comes from the microalga euglena.

A consortium has been set up between Seiko Epson, NEC, the University of Tokyo, and a venture firm called Euglena.

The biomass plastic will be based on the component paramylon, which comes from euglena.

Euglena absorbs carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Researchers believe this could be a much greener alternative to regular plastic, which comes from fossil fuels. A great deal of CO2 is emitted during the production process.

The consortium hopes to produce around 200,000 tons of biomass plastic annually by 2030.