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News USDA Grant to

News USDA Grant to Develop Plant Containers Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop biorenewable and biodegradable containers for the specialty crop industry. The .9 million grant will be used to develop bioplastic containers as an alternative to petroleum-based pots. Bill Graves, professor of horticulture, will lead the research team that includes David Grewell, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) affiliate; Michael Kessler, associate professor of materials science and engineering and CCUR affiliate; James Schrader, assistant scientist in horticulture; and scientists at the University of Illinois; University of Nevada-Reno; and Ohio State University. Grewell, Schrader, and Kessler are also members of CCUR‘s Biopolymers & Biocomposites Research Team. The plant containers were produced by Grewell‘s research group in CCUR‘s Technology Transfer Pilot Plant using the 150-ton hydraulic press. The containers are made of soy protein-based plastic. “Nearly all specialty crops, including bedding plants, tomatoes and other vegetables, and containerized shrubs and trees that are purchased for residential gardening and landscaping, are grown and marketed in petroleum-based, conventional plastic containers.Few of those are recycled or reused,” said Graves. “Our vision is to provide sustainable alternatives that can meet the needs of horticultural producers, and that will degrade harmlessly when installed with the plant in a garden.” An estimated 6 million could be saved annually by the specialty crop industry by converting from petroleumbased containers to bioplastic containers, Graves said. Other benefits include shifting resource revenue from foreign oil to domestic biorenewables and eliminating adverse environmental effects of petroleum-based plastics. MT First Sugar Cane based PHA Vinçotte recently awarded the ‘OK Biodegradable (in) Water’ certification to the MINERV ® PHA SC (Sugar Cane) bioplastics. This is the first and only biopolymer in the world made by the Italian company Bio on from Bologna, starting from sugar cane by-products. The certification confirms Minerv PHA SC’s complete biodegradability in water at ambient temperature. This new plastic can be used to make a wide range of rigid or flexible objects and to replace daily use products that are highly polluting and made from petroleum based conventional plastics, currently used to manufacture bottles, food packaging, auto parts, furnishings, fibres, packaging film and electronics and much more. Bio on develops new materials in the modern biotechnologies sector and this recognition completes the industrial research project, started in 2007, aimed at producing naturally biodegradable plastic, starting from sugar beets and, as of today, also from sugar cane. Until now both have mainly been used to produce edible sugar or biofuels. The idea is especially innovative since, for the first time in the world, PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) is obtained from molasses or intermediate sugar cane juices or from its by-products and not from oils or cereal starches like the majority of the biopolymers on the market today. Minerv PHA bioplastics are thus made from waste materials and not from products intended for food production. This, combined with their complete biodegradability in water, is the big environmental advantage of the bioplastics developed by Bio on. Minerv PHA SC has excellent thermal properties. Through the range of polymerisation, production requirements from -10°C to +180°C can be met, to be used with injection or extrusion methods. MT 8 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/11] Vol. 6

News Amsterdam ArenA (Photo: Bjørn Giesenbauer, CC-by-sa) Ajax Fans Sit on Sustainable Sugar Braskem recently established a partnership with Amsterdam ArenA, home of the famous soccer team Ajax Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The leading thermoplastic resin producer in the Americas will supply sugar-cane based polyethylene to be used in the production of seats for the multifunctional Dutch stadium. In addition to the 52,000 existing seats, two thousand new seats manufactured with Braskem‘s plastic made from bio-ethanol will be installed in the coming months. By the end of the next two years, all 54,000 seats will be made of plastic from 100% renewable raw material, using Brazilian technology. The installation of the ‘sugar seats’ - as these seats are being called - is part of the strategy to turn the Amsterdam ArenA into a landmark of the world‘s most sustainable capital. The stadium was inaugurated in 1996, and its remodel will not adversely affect the events happening in the stadium. The entire remodeling project follows sustainability guidelines. In 2015, the stadium wants to be ecologically neutral, producing no carbon footprint. “The use of Green Plastic at the Amsterdam ArenA is fully in line with Braskem‘s strategy of becoming the world‘s leading company in sustainable chemicals“, said Marcelo Nunes, Braskem‘s Renewable Chemicals Director. “Braskem‘s partnership with Station Amsterdam complements other alliances already consolidated in recent months, uniting companies that seek sustainable solutions“, added the executive. MT Synterra grade IM (left) and traditional PLA (right) after immersion in boiling water. Non-GMO PLA Wins Blue Tulip Award By mixing 100% pure PLLA with 100% PDLA, a fast cycle and heat-resistant injection mouldable PLA with very good temperature and impact properties is made that far exceeds the properties of the individual polymers. With a Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT B @ 0,45 N/mm²) of 123°C Synterra ® IM material performs much better than conventional PLA and the impact strength is comparable to that of ABS. After injection molding the IM material is able to withstand boiling water. With this development Synbra Technology sets a step in developing a new generation of high performance biopolymers. The polymerization of the optical isomers PLLA and PDLA takes place at Synbra Technology in Etten-Leur, the Netherlands, in a plant with a capacity of 5000 tonnes/annum, which was commissioned early 2011. Synbra Technology expects further growth in its PLA business as many brand-owners and retailers in Western Europe prefer to use bio-based and non-GMO PLA that is also heat-resistant. Shortly after introducing its Synterra IM material, Synbra Technology was awarded at the Accenture Blue Tulip Awards at the RAI Elicium, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. “This Blue Tulip Award in the category ‘Making more out of less’ is the ultimate reward for the entire team that participated in the successful development of our Synterra IM grade, which is made from Cradle to Cradle SM certified PLA,“ said Peter Matthijssen, Commercial Manager of Synbra Technology. In recognition of the purity of the raw materials used, the PLA of Synbra was Cradle to CradleSM certified by EPEA in Hamburg and is thus the first PLA in the world with this certification. Application of this PLA also improves various properties such as toughness and temperature resistance of several other bio-based recipes, in which PLA is an important constituent. MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/11] Vol. 6 9

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