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Polyform’s eco-friendly pontoons keep innovative offshore solar park afloat

Published 14 Dec 2022 (updated 25 June 2024) · 3 min read

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At a glance

  • Durable, eco-friendly pontoon for offshore applications
  • Produced from certified bioplastic
  • Reduces fossil fuel use and promotes the circular economy

Polyform delivers buoyancy pontoons made of bioplastic, reducing the environmental footprint of companies reliant on plastic products. “We are the first supplier to provide eco-friendly pontoons at this scale. We’re excited to be a leader in promoting sustainability in industry,” says Erik Loe Muri, Sales and Marketing Manager at Polyform.

Sustainable offshore energy projects around the world are planned to be launched in the coming years. Common for them all is that they are subject to strict quality and environmental requirements. This includes the various components of the solution, such as plastic pontoons, moorings and buoys.

The environmental downside is that 99 per cent of plastic is still produced from chemicals derived from oil, natural gas and coal — all non-renewable resources. If current trends continue, by 2050 the plastic industry could account for 20 per cent of the world’s total oil consumption.

Solutions are therefore needed to increase the sustainability of plastic products.

Polyform pontoons ditch fossil fuel oil for bio-feedstocks

Polyform has developed a buoyancy pontoon made from certified biobased polyethylene (PE) plastic. The new pontoons will be used in a floating solar park pilot off the northwestern coast of Norway. The largest delivery of its kind, Polyform is providing the solar park with over 300 pontoons in late 2021 and early 2022.

“A unique aspect of our solar park pontoons is that we use certified biobased plastic,” says Muri.

Developed by two major Norwegian companies, the project will test the viability of the solar park and its components, including the pontoons, in some of the harshest weather conditions possible.

“We trust that our biobased pontoon is as good as our standard product. We’re showing that it’s possible to expand the market for bioplastics,” he adds.

The large pontoon delivery is part of Polyform’s shift towards more eco-friendly plastic production for the aquaculture, maritime and offshore clean energy industries. The same technology used for the biobased pontoons may also be used in the near future in Polyform’s standard product line, which includes inflatable buoys and fenders, moorings and flotation devices.

Promoting the circular economy of plastic

Polyform’s eco-friendly pontoon gives companies an alternative to the fossil fuel-based version. “If we can switch to bioplastics, we will reduce the need to pump up new oil from under the sea. The extraction process also has its own carbon footprint from all the fossil fuel-driven vessels and machinery required for the operations,” explains Muri.

In addition, the eco-friendly pontoon contributes to the circular economy of plastic. By using certified biobased plastic in its production, Polyform is reducing pressure on the environment and playing a role in the fight against climate change.

Ultimately, bioplastics are moving the plastic industry and its customers towards greater sustainability. “Right now, our industry is mostly focused on recycling used plastic products into new ones. Our ambition is to expand the use of biobased plastic, which does not require the use of virgin material. I believe that biobased plastic together with recycling is the future of the plastic industry,” says Muri.


Becoming a leader in biobased plastic products

Offshore clean energy and aquaculture are two rapidly growing industries that rely on plastic pontoons, moorings and buoys. Government regulations, consumer demands and CSR concerns are compelling many industries to improve their sustainability profile.

“Companies in these sectors are dramatically increasing the demand for sustainable plastic products because they are aiming for CO₂ neutrality,” explains Muri.

Established in 1955, Polyform was the first company in the world to produce inflatable, all-plastic net buoys and fenders. Now in the 21st century, Polyform plans to transform itself into a model of sustainability for the plastic industry.

“At Polyform, we have set our own climate roadmap goal of using solely biobased plastic in our production by 2030,” says Muri.

Polyform is currently taking orders for biobased plastic pontoons, moorings, buoys and similar products. The company also delivers an eco-friendly boat fender produced without potentially toxic phthalates.

Erik Loe Muri

Sales & Marketing Manager

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Tverrvegen 37, 6020 ÅLESUND, Norway

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