Bioplastics maker Biobent gets soybean board support

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COLUMBUS, OHIO (Feb. 15, 2:25 p.m. ET) — Bioplastics maker Biobent Polymers is receiving funding from the United Soybean Board through Battelle Memorial Institute.

Funding from USB, a trade group for the soybean industry, will be used by Battelle to help commercialize soy-based plastics sold by Dublin, Ohio-based Biobent. The amount of the funding was not specified in a Feb. 14 news release from Battelle, a leading independent research organization based in Columbus, Ohio.

“With USB support, we are continuing our alliance with Biobent Polymers taking the next step down the commercialization road for a critically important sustainable green technology,” Battelle senior market manager Rick Heggs said in the release.

Biobent sells soy-based bioplastics under the Panacea brand name. The materials - which incorporate polyethylene and polypropylene resins - are compounded for Biobent by Ovation Polymers of Medina, Ohio.

In a Feb. 15 phone interview, Biobent strategy and operations chief Keith Masavage said his firm hopes to have it own production site up and running by 2013 with annual production capacity of 30-60 million pounds. Sales of Panacea material are expected to total 10 million pounds this year.

No site for the plant has been selected, but Masavage said that Biobent has received interest from communities in central and northwest Ohio. The proposed plant is expected to require an investment of $5 million to $6 million.