NTU Singapore scientists have developed a pollen-based ‘paper’ that, after being printed on, can be ‘erased’ and reused multiple times without any damage to the paper.
In a research paper published online in Advanced Materials on 5 April, the NTU team showed how high-resolution colour images could be printed on the non-allergenic pollen paper with a laser printer, and then ‘unprinted’ – by completely removing the toner without damaging the paper – with an alkaline solution. They demonstrated that this process could be repeated up to at least eight times.
This innovative, printer-ready pollen paper could become an eco-friendly alternative to conventional paper, which is made via a multi-step process with a significant negative environmental impact, said the scientists.
It could also help to reduce the carbon emissions and energy usage associated with conventional paper recycling, which involves repulping, de-toning (removal of printer toner) and reconstruction.
This innovation adds to the series of discoveries and technological advances pioneered by NTU researchers from many disciplines, whose cutting-edge scholarly research translate NTU’s commitment to sustainability into practices that benefit industry and society, in line with the vision outlined in the University’s Sustainability Manifesto released in 2021 and the NTU 2025 strategic plan.
A patent application has been filed based on this NTU innovation.