SBIR Phase I: BP 1 - Microwaveable Bioplastic Packaging
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project develops next-generation price-performance competitive bioplastics. Economic and environmental concerns make it highly desirable to find alternative sources for petroleum based plastics as a means of preventing pollution and ensuring economic sustainability. Recently the world's largest retailers have identified preferred suppliers that use sustainable plastics packaging. The reserach objective is to use nanotechnology to develop new ""green"" bioplastics and to move rapidly towards commercialization through a partnership with the multi-billion dollar Sealed Air Corporation, a supplier to Wal-Mart. The intellectual merit of the project rests in advancing the technology of bioplastics so that they may be used in a wider variety of commercial applications. Polylactide (PLA) is a bioplastic made from corn but available from any fermentable biomass resource, including plentiful cellulosics. Life cycle analysis shows multiple environmental benefits over petroleum-based plastics. However, the property window of PLA is limited - the heat distortion temperature (HDT) is too low. University expertise developed under previous NSF funding is exploited to achieve the research objective of developing new bioplastic nanocomposites that overcome existing property limitations relevant to microwaveable food packaging. The new materials are developed through controlled experimentation guided by known principles of polymer science and engineering. The broader impact will be to provide bioplastics having suitable properties, including cost, to serve as a replacement for polystyrene in foamed and solid tray plastic packaging applications. Projections suggest annual consumption of 15-20 million lbs/year with an annual sales volume of approximately $20 million. Such products will reduce the country's dependence on petroleum products.
Small Business Information at Submission:
1021 18th Street SUITE 102/103 Golden, CO 80402
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