STTR Phase I: Designing and Engineering Thermoplastic Starch BioFoam Materials for Protective Packaging Applications View Homepage


Ontology type: schema:MonetaryGrant     


Grant Info

YEARS

2008-2009

FUNDING AMOUNT

150000 USD

ABSTRACT

Intellectual Merit KTM Industries in cooperation with Michigan State University plans to design and engineer biodegradable starch based biofoam materials for the protective packaging market. These new, biobased foam materials are expected to displace petro-based polyethylene, polystyrene, and polyurethane materials used currently in these applications. KTM Industries, working with National Starch, Specialized Packaging Group LP, and its customers, namely Toyota, Volvo, have test marketed and commercialized several starch foam materials for limited applications. However, its extreme moisture sensitivity, poor surface properties, and strength have precluded its use in broader applications. KTM/MSU with its industrial collaborators will design, manufacture and test new chemically modified plastic starch biofoams with superior moisture resistance, strength, surface uniformity, and ease of fabrication than is currently achieved. This has the major benefit for gaining market acceptance of bio-based foam cushioning technology across a wider range of applications. Broader Impact KTM's Green Cell product is the only commercially available bio-foam in North America. It is completely biodegradable, greenhouse gas neutral, and competes well in selected polyethylene packaging applications. Market feedback, however, has shown that broader acceptance of starch biofoams requires KTM to overcome current moisture sensitivity, brittleness, strength, and surface property issues as well as manufacturability challenges. By developing a thermoplastic starch biofoam that has the enhanced moisture resistance, flexibility, good strength, surface uniformity, and manufacturability characteristics that industry needs, KTM believes starch biofoams can finally penetrate and capture a large portion of the $2.6 billion foam packaging market. Achieving performance parity with synthetic, petroleum-based resins, being manufactured from domestically grown corn, and being biodegradable will greatly accelerate the acceptance of packaging biofoams for many industries and customer groups. Indeed, KTM believes the research could ultimately result in displacement of as much as 10% of the market. This would create jobs, and position companies to better serve a growing customer base that demands companies reduce their negative environmental impacts and reduce their carbon footprint. Furthermore, the technical advancements implied in this research will significantly accelerate the development of a broader range of commercially successful bio-plastic products. More... »

URL

http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=0810684&HistoricalAwards=false

Related SciGraph Publications

  • 2011-09. Preparation and Properties of Biodegradable Foams in JOURNAL OF POLYMERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
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