Home News Livestock Crops Markets Hay, Range & Pasture Home & Family Classifieds Resources This Week's Journal



Farm Survey


AgriMartin
Journal Getaways


Reader Comment:
by Wheat_Harvest movie

"Thanks so much for the article! These are the types of people we hope to"....Read the story...
Join other discussions.

Bioplastics software being developed at ISU to be tested at international plastics show

Iowa

There is growing interest in finding renewable products that can be substituted for petrochemicals in a myriad of applications. While biobased plastics are seen as more environmentally preferable, clearly they won't be used commercially unless it can be determined they are economically viable.

That fact led Iowa State University researchers to begin development of a software program that can help determine the economic viability of a proposed biobased product.

David Grewell, assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, has led the software's development. "An increased interest in bioplastics due to ecological and economical issues has promoted interest in analysis of their performance from a 'cradle-to-grave' perspective," he said. "While standard methods for this sort of analysis require the collection of an enormous amount of data, this software takes a simpler approach and only considers the direct energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, costs of raw materials and processing."

Grewell said the software allows users to compare various petrochemical and biobased plastics. "It automatically generates reports and compares the costs and eco-profile of plastic parts from different materials," he said.

Grewell chairs Iowa State's Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team, which will have an exhibit at the NPE2009 International Plastics Exposition June 22 to 26 in Chicago. The team will be exhibiting samples of plastics, composites, adhesives and coatings they have made from vegetable oils and proteins, plus flower pots and golf tees created from some of the materials they have developed.

The software program, which has been in development for about a year, also will be on display. "We hope to have new people at the show help put the final touches on the program, as we demonstrate how it works and they test it for themselves," Grewell said.

Working with Grewell on what is being called the "Bioplastics Footprint Analysis Software" is Julius Vogel, a graduate student in materials science and engineering. Funding for the project came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Energy Policy and New Uses.

The research team operates under the Center for Crops Utilization Research umbrella. Larry Johnson, CCUR director, said many of the biobased products the team is testing could reduce the final cost of new products dramatically. "This is all about finding new uses for low-value co-products," he said.

The team of researchers includes faculty members in the agricultural and biosystems engineering, natural resource ecology and management, chemistry, materials science, and architecture and design departments.

"This group is unique because of their diverse academic backgrounds," said Johnson. "They cover most, if not all, of the value chains for biocomposites. They're trying to engage folks in industry every step of the way, and have a very strong Iowa focus."



Google
 
Web hpj.com

Copyright 1995-2014.  High Plains Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Any republishing of these pages, including electronic reproduction of the editorial archives or classified advertising, is strictly prohibited. If you have questions or comments you can reach us at
High Plains Journal 1500 E. Wyatt Earp Blvd., P.O. Box 760, Dodge City, KS 67801 or call 1-800-452-7171. Email: webmaster@hpj.com

 

Archives Search







Inside Futures

Editorial Archives

Browse Archives