WASHINGTON — The plastics industry is getting greener and even the White House is taking notice.
Plastics companies and up and down the supply chain have been selected for the 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Awards, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Nanotech Industries International Inc., which does business as Hybrid Coating Technologies, won for developing a plant-based polyurethane for use in flooring, furniture and foam insulation. The Daly City, Calif., company's patented PU-based coatings and paint products do not use any isocyanates, an irritant and asthma trigger for plastics workers. The hybrid non-isocyanate polyurethane (HNIPU) combines the high chemical resistance properties of epoxy and advanced durability and wear resistance properties of PU, the company says.
Honoree LanzaTech NZ Ltd., founded in New Zealand 10 years ago and now based in Skokie, Ill., turns waste gas from steel mills into ethanol and other high-value fuels and chemicals for plastics production. The technology “has enormous potential for American industry,” EPA said in the award announcement.
Renmatix Inc., a King of Prussia, Pa., company that developed the Plantrose supercritical water process to speed conversion of organic waste into cellulosic sugars for processing into plastics and renewable fuels, also was honored. Earlier this year, Renmatix landed a $50 million investment from French oil company Total SA; previous investors include BASF SE, which licenses the technology in its refineries.
Colorado State University professor Eugene Chen, the only individual to receive an award, has developed a waste-free process for converting small molecules from nonedible plant biomass into bioplastics, renewable chemicals and liquid fuels.
The Presidential Green Chemistry Awards, now in their 20th year, were established to recognize landmark sustainable chemistry technologies that turn environmental problems into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development, according to EPA.