Italian bioplastics firm Bio-on srl is investing $1.4 million in a polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) resin project at the University of Hawaii.
UH and Bio-on on Sept. 1 signed an exclusive global research contract to use lignocellulosic materials from wood processing waste — as well as domestic or agricultural waste — as PHA raw materials.
Work on the project will be done at UH labs in Manoa, Hawaii. The new technology adds wood and domestic or agricultural waste to co-products already used in PHA, such as sugar beet, sugar cane, glycerol from biodiesel waste and potato processing waste.
The investment “will make [UH] scientists … key players in research into the green chemical industry at a global level,” UH-Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman said in a Sept. 1 news release.
Bio-on Chairman Marco Astorri added in the release that the partnership “makes the research conducted in the USA…one of the highest-level collaborations in existence.”
The agreement comes less than three years after Bio-on struck a deal with Canadian automotive supplier Magna International Inc. to explore potential automotive applications for PHA. Bio-on is based in Bologna, Italy.