The Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team (BBRT) exhibited and presented papers at several plastics and bioplastics conferences this spring. They are also promoted the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2), a National Science Foundation Industry and University Cooperative Research Center. This proposed center is a collaborative effort by the BBRT and the Department of Plastics Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell that will actively engage industry partners to conduct commercially relevant biobased plastics and composites research.
BBRT had an exhibit at Bioplastics: The Re-Invention of Plastics held March 4-6 at Las Vegas, Nev. BBRT members met with show attendees and representatives from plastics companies to discuss possible research collaborations and opportunities to become a member of CB2. The highlight of the booth was an exhibit on the biobased plant containers project. A display showed the results from last year's greenhouse trials where the plants grown in soy-based pots developed by BBRT were larger and healthier than plants grown in petroleum-based pots.
Gowrishankar Srinivasan, postdoctoral research associate and member of the BBRT, presented the paper Multifunctional Sustainable Plastics for Agricultural Applications at the Global Plastics Environmental Conference held March 20-22 in New Orleans, La. The talk generated substantial interest in degradable plastics for agricultural applications. Potential service partners were identified during the event for food contact and food safety.
On April 22-24, BBRT traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, to attend ANTEC 2013, one of the largest plastics technical conferences in the world. BBRT members gave two presentations: Effects of Biodiesel on Plastics by David Grewell, chair of BBRT and associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, and Sustainable Materials for Horticultural Applications by Srinivasan.
CB2 also had an exhibit in UMass Lowell's booth during ANTEC. Grewell, director of CB2, and Margaret Sobkowicz-Kline, co-director of CB2 and assistant professor at UMass Lowell, were at the booth to discuss industry partnership opportunities with attendees.
The BBRT operates under the Center for Crops Utilization Research umbrella at Iowa State University.