News Releases

Current news from the BIopolymers & Biocomposites Research Team.


Iowa State University Researchers Develop Soy-based Fertilizer for Improved Sustainability

David Grewell, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, and James Schrader, associate scientist in horticulture, lead a team investigating the use of soy-based materials as a source of nitrogen in a fully biorenewable, slow-release fertilizer. Their goal was to develop a biobased turfgrass fertilizer that could perform as well as traditional synthetic fertilizers, while improving environmental sustainability. More >>


ISU to Lead New Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites

The Iowa Board of Regents approved the National Science Foundation Industry & University Cooperative Research Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites. The center’s research will develop knowledge about the production of an array of high-value products, including plastics, coatings, adhesives and composites, from agricultural and forestry feedstocks. A partnership among universities, industry and government, the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites or CB2 will be led by Iowa State and funded through industry and NSF support. More >>


VIDEO: Bioplastic Container Manufacturing Collaboration at VistaTek

Collaboration of Iowa State University researchers and VistaTek LLC to manufacture 9000 injection-molded, bioplastic horticulture containers for commercialization trials, research, extension, and further collaboration with stakeholders in specialty-crops industries. The video illustrates production of 4.5-inch standard plant containers made from six different bioplastic formulations at VistaTek in Stillwater, Minn., in October of 2014. More >>

Additional videos can be found on the Bioplastic Container Cropping Systems Research YouTube Channel.


CB2 Industry Advisory Board Kickoff Event

November 10-12, 2014
Iowa State University - Ames, Iowa
Kickoff Event Web Page

The first Industry Advisory Board meeting for the proposed I/UCRC Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites will be held at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, November 10-12, 2014. The meeting will start with a reception at 6 pm on Monday, November 10 and end at noon on Wednesday, November 12. More >>


Iowa State University Researcher Sees Market Potential for Biobased Wax Coatings

Tong Wang’s research on renewable waxes has led to the development of several products including candles and paints for encaustic art. Now, Wang believes her soybean oil-based waxes can be used as coatings in the paper and packaging industry. More >>


VIDEO: Biodegradation of Bioplastic Plant Containers in Home Compost (2 weeks)

Bioplastic plant growing containers can perform as well or better than petroleum-plastic containers for crop production and have a lower environmental impact. This video shows our results during the first two weeks of biodegradation with over twenty types of bioplastic composites in a home composting system. This is the first in a short series of videos that will illustrate the biodegradability of these biorenewable polymers and composites in home compost.

Additional videos in this series can be found on the Bioplastic Container Cropping Systems Research YouTube Channel.


Biobased Plant Containers Perform Well in Greenhouse and Garden Trials

The Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team (BBRT) has finished the first round of plant container development and evaluation for its five-year bioplastic container cropping systems project. Results from the first year have shown that 15 of the 34 biobased prototype containers developed by BBRT performed just as well in greenhouse and garden trials as containers made from petroleum-based plastic. More >>


BBRT Attends Conferences to Promote New Bioplastics Center

The Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team is exhibiting and presenting papers at several plastics and bioplastics conferences this spring. More>>


BBRT will be Attending Upcoming Plastics Conferences

The Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team will be presenting papers at GPEC 2013 and ANTEC 2013. Also, learn more about the the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2) at ANTEC. CB2 will be highlighted in the UMass Lowell booth (#215). More information on the Events page>>


A Proposed Bioplastics Center at Iowa State University Receives NSF Planning Grant

The Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) planning grant to develop a center at Iowa State University that will focus on bioplastics and biocomposites. More>>


Researchers Create Biobased Coatings with Antibacterial Properties

Michael Kessler, associate professor of materials science and engineering and Biopolymers & Biocomposites Research Team member, has teamed up with Byron Brehm-Stecher, associate professor of food science and human nutrition, and Richard Larock, distinguished professor emeritus of chemistry, to develop soybean oil-based coatings that have antibacterial properties. More>>


Workshop Focuses on New Biobased Products and Technology

New biobased products and processing techniques were the focus of the Biopolymers & Biocomposites Workshop held August 14 at Iowa State University. The workshop brought together 79 participants from industry and academia interested in developing and using biobased plastics and composites. More>>


Greenhouse Trials Underway for Biobased Plant Containers Project

Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team (BBRT) members have started the first round of plant container development and greenhouse testing for their five-year Bioplastic Container Cropping Systems project. More>>


Biopolymers Research Team Exhibits at International Plastics Event

Biobased plant containers and a new plastics web application were the main attractions at the Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team’s (BBRT) exhibit at NPE2012 International Exposition in Orlando, Florida. From April 2-5, BBRT members met with show attendees and representatives from plastics companies interested in biobased products the group produces including plastics, composites, and coatings. More>>


Web-based Application will Help Determine Economic Viability of Bioplastics

The plastics industry will soon have a new tool to determine the economic viability of biobased plastics. The Polymers Environmental Calculator is a web application designed to calculate and compare processing costs, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of products made from petroleum and biobased plastics. More>>


Iowa State University Research Team is Developing Biobased Carbon Fibers for Wind Turbine Blades

The Iowa State University Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team is investigating the production of carbon fibers from low-cost, lignin-based polymer blends for use in wind turbine blades. More>>


Iowa State University Workshop to Promote Development of Biopolymers and Biocomposites

Iowa State University will host a Biopolymers and Biocomposites Workshop Aug. 14 to bring together researchers and industry representatives interested in developing products made from biomass. More>>


Dukane Donates Equipment to Bioplastics Characterization Lab

Dukane Corporation donated a pneumatic ultrasonic welder and loaned a servo-actuator controlled ultrasonic welding system to David Grewell’s bioplastics research group. The new equipment will be used to study various control algorithms for cutting polylactic acid (PLA) films. More>>


New Biorenewable Plant Containers to Be Displayed at International Plastics Show

The Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team will have an exhibit at the NPE2012 International Plastics Showcase April 1-5 in Orlando. The team will be displaying plant containers made from corn and soy proteins, as well as other samples of biobased plastics, composites and coatings. More>>


David Grewell Receives Outstanding Achievement in International Agriculture Award

David Grewell received the Outstanding Achievement in International Agriculture Award at the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Science's spring convocation on February 16. More>>


Patent Filed for Process to Recycle Polylactic Acid-based Plastic

David Grewell, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and Center for Crops Utilization Research and BioCentury Research Farm affiliate, applied for a patent for technology associated with recycling polylactic acid-based plastic (PLA). More>>


Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team Showcase Research at Plastics Conference

The Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team (BBRT) exhibited at the Global Plastics Environmental Conference on October 17-19 in Atlanta, Georgia. The team showed samples of plastics and composites made from vegetable oils and proteins, plus flower pots and golf tees manufactured from materials they developed. More>>


USDA Awards Iowa State Grant to Develop Biorenewable Plant Containers

Iowa State University has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop biorenewable and biodegradable containers for the specialty crop industry. More>>