Iowa State University expanding bio-container research

By Frank Antosiewicz
Correspondent

Published: May 8, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers, NPE 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (May 8, 1:15 p.m. ET) — After displaying its bio-based plant containers at NPE2012 in Orlando, Iowa State University biopolymers and biocomposites researchers returned home to make up another 6,000 pots for beta testing this summer.

“We shipped them to 10 different vendors for beta testing,” said David Grewell, head of the research team and an associate professor of agriculture and biosystems engineering at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.

The small containers, produced from natural proteins, carbohydrates, oils and low-cost natural fibers, can be used to replace petroleum-based containers and will degrade harmlessly when planted in a garden, he said. One other advantage is that the protein-based containers also fertilize the soil as they degrade. 

Mike Kessler, an associate professor of material science and engineering, is leading the project that uses lignin, a byproduct of the wood-pulping process. His group is chemically modifying and blending the lignin with biopolymers such as polylactic acid resin.

The material is being developed for wind energy, but has potential in other industries, such as automotive, where stronger and lighter parts are needed for weight reduction.

Iowa State’s research group also is working on a “polymers environmental calculator,” a Web-based application to help determine the economic viability of bioplastics. The app should be ready June 1, Grewell said. The group also is putting together a video to illustrate how to use the program. The video is aimed at resin producers, manufacturers and end users.

The calculator will allow users to compare processing costs, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to find a plastic that minimizes costs and environmental impact. It will look at the direct costs of 12 common petroleum and bio-based plastics and allow for data from other plastics.

The team is partnering with Clinton, Mass.-based manufacturer Nypro Inc. and M-Base Engineering + Software GmbH, an Aachen, Germany-based data management software company, to make the application available to the plastics industry.

Related workshops

Iowa State University in Ames is hosting a biopolymers and biocomposites workshop Aug. 14 to help researchers and industry representatives develop products made from biomass.

The workshop will focus on formulating protein-based poly­­mers, vegetable oil polymers, adhesives, composites and poly­esters through fermentation. It will also cover processing technologies such as injection molding, extrusion, compression molding and casting.

The day will conclude with  tours of Iowa State’s bioscience and manufacturing facilities, including a polymer-characterization labora­tory and a technology-transfer pilot plant.

The workshop is part of three days of events at Iowa State. A workshop on plastics manufacturing technical resources will be held Aug. 13, while on Aug. 15, a conference is scheduled on bioplastic container systems for crops.

 

 


Comments

Iowa State University expanding bio-container research

By Frank Antosiewicz
Correspondent

Published: May 8, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

McCann expanding in Ohio

December 17, 2014 11:59 am ET

Compounding firm McCann Plastics will spend $1.2 million on an expansion project that will create 15 new jobs at its plant in Green, Ohio.    More

Image

Ecojug trims HDPE from milk jugs

December 17, 2014 8:57 am ET

United Diary Inc. has saved 1.7 million pounds of high density polythylene during the production of 80 million of its new Ecojug milk jug design...    More

Image

Amcor unveils hot-fill PET jars that accept metal lug closures

December 17, 2014 8:47 am ET

Amcor Rigid Plastics has developed hot-fill PET jars that accept metal lug closures — which the company claims is a first for food packaging.    More

Image

Heritage Bag adds Gloucester equipment

December 17, 2014 6:00 am ET

Heritage Bag Co. has purchased six bag-making machines from Gloucester Engineering Co. for its new headquarters factory in Roanoke, Texas, which also ...    More

Image

PS foam sheet line features tandem extruders

December 17, 2014 6:00 am ET

Macro Engineering & Technology Inc. if Mississauga, Ontario, has introduced a high-output polystyrene foam sheet extrusion line that has an output up ...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events