CB2 produces biobased plant containers live at NPE2015

For an on-site demonstration of injection molding with biobased plastics, booth S-18189 of the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2) in the Sustainability Pavilion is the place to be at NPE2015. That’s where biobased plant containers are being molded from Bio-Res PLA, a 100% renewable and compostable plastic.

Biobased plant containerThe plastic is a blend of PLA and Bio-Res, an environmentally friendly product developed by CB2 industry member Laurel Biocomposite LLC (also in booth S-18189). It is derived from distillers’ grains, a renewable feedstock, and can be blended with thermoplastics and thermosets in a variety of manufacturing applications.

The Bio-Res PLA plant containers are part of a five-year study of the production and performance of various bioplastic pots led by CB2 faculty members at Iowa State University. The study is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“These biobased plant containers are a viable and sustainable replacement for the petroleum-based pots that are currently used,” said David Grewell, Director of CB2 and professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State.

NPE attendees can watch the containers being made on a Wittmann Battenfeld injection molding machine equipped with an integrated end-of-arm-tooling robot, both of which were made available to CB2 for the show. VistaTek provided the plant container mold. All visitors to the booth receive a complimentary plant container to take home.

NPE offers an excellent opportunity for industry and users, including gardeners, to see these pots firsthand. Grewell: “The hope is to develop industrial collaborations that will lead to long-term acceptance of this novel product.”

CB2 is a National Science Foundation Industry & University Cooperative Research Center that brings together industry partners and university researchers who have a common interest in biobased plastics and composites. It is led by Iowa State with Washington State University as a site. Organizations interested in the market introduction of economically viable biobased products are encouraged to join CB2 and its 23 industry partners.