Diatom frustules as a bio-based, sustainable delivery vehicle for controlled release applications – step 2

Controlled release of active substances is used in various products such as antifouling-, wound care-, and personal care products. A controlled release will allow the active substance to be active over a longer time, giving the product a sustained effect. The carrier materials currently available on the market for controlled release of active substances are either fossil-based or are produced using energy- and solvent intensive methods.

This project aims to replace these carrier materials with a biobased silica material Algica®, which is produced from diatoms. If successful, this will contribute to the UN’s sustainable development goals 12 – Sustainable consumption and productions and 13 – Fight climate change.

The overall goal of the project is to reach TRL 6. This will be achieved by developing product prototypes for each market (antifouling, wound care, and personal care) and test these prototypes in relevant environments. Whitin the project, market analyses will also be carried out with the help of a NABC model, the needs, approaches, benefits and competition will be completed for each industry targeting MRL 5. The market analysis will be guiding to decide which application that has the shortest road to market.

The project aims to demonstrate the efficacy of Algica as a carrier material for encapsulation and controlled release in product prototypes in relevant environment, anti-fouling, wound care and personal care. The active substances that will be released are Selektope® (anti-fouling), AMC-109 (wound care), and retinoids (personal care). The project will also investigate the sustainability impact of the production of Algica and the encapsulation process (target SRL6).

The project consortium include:

Swedish Algae Factory is the project owner and are responsible for project management, optimization of encapsulation and slow release and the work packages adressing sustainability and market analysis.

I-tech (anti-fouling), Amicoat (wound care) and Selego (personal care) are responsible for creating prototypes within their market and/or validate them.

RISE has experience in encapsulations and controlled release. In the project, they will work to optimize encapsulation and release, develop product prototypes for the wound care market and measure release from all product prototypes.

Why is this project important?

Controlled release is a must for a better product performance in respective field and to reduce the use and pollution of pharmaceuticals and biocides. Today, controlled release is achieved using carrier materials that are either fossil-based or produced using energy- and solvent-intensive manufacturing processes. The project will help the industry actors along the supply chain to choose a more sustainable carrier material for their controlled release applications.

Expected results

The project is expected to deliver a protocol for optimized encapsulation and controlled release of active substances from Algica and demonstrated effect in product prototypes in the three markets. The project is also expected to generate market- and sustainability analysis. If successful, the expectation is that Algica is used as a carrier material for controlled release in commercial products within three years of a finalized project.

Participants

Swedish Algae Factory, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Amicoat, I-tech and Selego.

Budget & time plan

The project’s total budget is 4 MSEK and the project runs for two years – between May 2024 and April 2026.

Read about Diatom frustules, a biobased and sustainable carrier structure for controlled release in multiple applications – step 1.