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

Image

High pressure RTM systems moving from Europe to Mexico

November 20, 2014 4:24 pm ET

Engel Holding GmbH's subsidiary in Mexico says it has sold the first high pressure resin transfer machine system (HP-RTM) in the Americas to a...    More

Image

Netstal, Electra Form team up for PET preform partnership

November 20, 2014 3:15 pm ET

The Netstal division of Krauss-Maffei Corp. is teaming up with Electra Form Industries in a partnership to offer PET preform machines and molds as a...    More

Image

Total to buy majority stake in Polyblend

November 20, 2014 10:04 am ET

French oil and gas giant Total SA will buy a 68 percent stake in Germany's Polyblend GmbH, a subsidiary of Polymer-Chemie GmbH.    More

Nissei ASB shows small, one-step injection stretch blow molding machine

November 19, 2014 8:49 am ET

Blow molding press builder Nissei ASB Machine Co. Ltd. showed its ASB-12M and ASB-70DPH machines at the IPF in Chiba, Japan, Oct. 28-Nov. 1.    More

Image

Silica can replace plastic microbeads

November 19, 2014 6:00 am ET

As cosmetics and soap makers face pressure to remove plastic microbeads from their products, Evonik Industries touts its new silica-based microbeads a...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

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

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

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