Scientists are working to reduce the nation's reliance on fossil fuels by developing environmentally friendly and cost effective plastics from natural, sustainable and renewable materials, such as vegetable oils, starches, sugars, and terpenes--essential organic oils produced by plants, flowers, and conifers--even one day recycled grass clippings. Researchers especially are focused on creating polymers that manufacturers can produce efficiently from renewable starting materials, are non-toxic and can be composted.
The goal is to "reduce reliance on petroleum-based plastics, and help mitigate environmental damage by designing materials that are compostable and, while in use, are harmless," says Marc Hillmyer, a professor of chemistry at the University of Minnesota and director of its Center for Sustainable Polymers.
"Many products today contain additives or residual substances that have raised health concerns," he adds. "We'd like to see plastics made from renewable resources that won't ultimately go into landfills, or end up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Why not grass clippings? We put them in compost, why not put them in a bio-refinery, make an advanced plastic out of it, then throw that back in the compost? Combing biotechnology advances with state of the art materials chemistry holds tremendous promise for the future of plastics."
The Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) has formed partnerships with more than 25 company affiliates in conducting research and developing new technology to create polymers made from safe and renewable natural sources, thus decreasing the industry's dependence on fossil fuels. Also, it hopes to encourage students, underrepresented minorities in particular, through new education efforts and outreach to consider careers in science, math and engineering in fields related to sustainable resources.
"Nature provides us with a wealth of opportunities to take complicated molecular structures and design materials with new properties that cannot be achieved using the traditional petroleum based products," Hillmyer says. "There is tremendous untapped potential to take natural products and turn them into materials that have sustainable benefits. Replacing the current polymers is one goal, but the future is really in designing, discovering and developing new bio-based materials with more functionality than what we have now."
National Science Foundation
Apparel/Garments | On 26th Oct 2016
SGS, a leading inspection, auditing, certification, testing, and...
Textiles | On 26th Oct 2016
International Textile Group (ITG) has been acquired by Platinum...
Textiles | On 26th Oct 2016
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and the University of Rhode Island...
‘There has been an increase in demand for water based inks, rather than...
Orange O Tec
Contemporary industry is paying more and more attention to the...
Everflow Petrofils Ltd
‘An innovative technology which India needs desperately is the...
Iago Castro Asensio
RCfil Distribuciones S.L.
Iago Castro Asensio, International Business Manager of RCfil...
Urs Stalder, CEO, Sanitized AG, talks about the increasing use of hygiene...
Coating at a fibre level is a practice not usually seen in the...
Bridal couture created with rich Indian heritage, exquisite craftsmanship...
"Now we can see the Russian trend in international fashion. And Russian...
"We should not compare India and the West. There are things we do that...
Textiles | On 25th Oct 2016