Ontario plastics researcher a “Top 40 Under 40” award winner
A plastics researcher at the University of Waterloo in Ontario has been named one of the “Top 40 Under 4...
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A plastics researcher at the University of Waterloo in Ontario has been named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by The Globe and Mail newspaper.
Leonardo Simon, a 39-year-old associate professor of chemical engineering, has been recognized for his work to utilize agricultural crop waste such as wheat straw and other plant materials to create lightweight plastic. Simon’s research has resulted in inedible agricultural crop waste, like wheat straw and other plant materials that are often burned in the field, now being mixed with polypropylene. The organic waste replaces heavy calcium carbonate or chalk, which have traditionally acted as fillers in plastics.
Companies such as Ford are taking interest in the new technology as the lighter plastic is just as strong as previously used plastic, but because it is lighter, vehicles utilizing the new material are more fuel efficient. Ford began using the material in its sports utility vehicle the Flex, made in Oakville, Ont., in 2009.
There is also interest in the technology overseas, and Prof. Simon has spoken about it in Japan and China in recent months.
In addition to his role at the University of Waterloo, Simon has also served on the board of directors for the Ontario chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers for several years.
Established in 1995, The Globe and Mail‘s “Top 40 Under 40” awards are given out annually to recognize young Canadian leaders.