More than a decade of research is paying off for Battelle Memorial Institute in the form of Geon BIO PVC compounds from PolyOne Corp.
Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne launched Geon BIO at NPE 2015 in Orlando. The flexible PVC compounds use reFlex-brand bio-based plasticizers that were developed by Battelle, a nonprofit research and development firm in Columbus, Ohio.
Battelle developed the patents used in reFlex in 2002 and 2003, and began working with PolyOne in 2008. PolyOne began marketing reFlex in late 2012.
“Selling a plasticizer was a bit of a departure for PolyOne,” Battelle senior market manager Rick Heggs said in an April 15 phone interview. “It was a little bit out of their sweet spot. But a compounded resin like Geon BIO is more a core business for them.”
Geon BIO already has some commercial applications in footwear and furniture, PolyOne market development manager Alan Barcon said in a recent interview with Plastics News. On the horizon for Geon BIO are opportunities in medical devices such as surgical masks, as well as in toys, he added.
The material can be used in “any kind of flexible PVC product in the home,” according to Heggs. The reFlex bio-plasticizer used in Geon BIO is soybean-based and USDA-approved, as well as being phthalate-free.
The bio-plasticizer will be used in loadings of at least 20 percent, Barcon said. Geon BIO also has good thermal stability, which can allow higher frequency runs and better manufacturing results, he added.
Soybeans often are used in bioplastics because of their abundance and affordability, Heggs said. Soybeans also have chemical attributes that make them attractive for chemical modification, he explained.
PolyOne is the exclusive licensee for Battelle's reflex bio-plasticizers in North America and Asia. In Brazil and South America, the technology has been licensed to Nexoleum Bioderivados Ltda. of Sao Paulo.
Battelle is looking to add a reflex licensee in Europe, and hopes to do so by the end of the year, Heggs said.
In addition to PolyOne, Battelle continues to work with Biobent Polymers, a Dublin, Ohio-based firm that uses Battelle technology to make soy-based Panacea-brand bioplastics. Biobent has received funding from Battelle and from the United Soybean Board.
Battelle was founded in 1929 and ranks as the world's largest nonprofit research and development organization, employing more than 22,000 employees at more than 60 locations.