Npe2009 Preview: Bioplastics Grow At Npe2009
We all know that bioplastics have become a fast-growing business for marketers and technologists in the plastics industry mainstream -- and the organizers of NPE 2009 want the show to provide a bright spotlight for its continued growth....
We all know that bioplastics have become a fast-growing business for marketers and technologists in the plastics industry mainstream — and the organizers of NPE 2009 want the show to provide a bright spotlight for its continued growth.
According to show owner SPI, NPE2009 will feature three raw materials companies reporting on new ventures for manufacturing bioplastics, as well as 39 companies, agencies, and industry consortia making conference presentations on bioplastics technology and business strategy.
“The dawn of the era of sustainability has brought with it a worldwide industry consensus on the need to proactively address issues such as resource depletion,” said SPI president and CEO William R. Carteaux. “Bioplastics have emerged as one of the most promising means for companies to carry out this strategy while operating profitably. Besides enabling businesses to comply with mandates for renewable resources, these exciting new polymer families will help ensure the long-term viability of our industry by providing an alternative to traditional raw materials.”
While the majority of plastics will continue to be fossil fuel-derived for years to come, current research to improve the properties and reduce the cost of bioplastics will result in rapid growth in the marketplace, according to Melissa Hockstad, SPI vice president in charge of the Material Suppliers Council and the Bioplastics Council. Hockstad identified three ventures into production of bioplastics that will be commercial or nearly so at the time of NPE2009. The first, Cereplast Inc., expects early-2010 completion of a new manufacturing plant to produce bioresins made from starches derived from tapioca, corn, wheat, and potatoes. Telles, a joint venture of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Co., has announced plans to start up a plant for its Mirel resins, produced from plant sugars in a process that involves chemical transformation by microorganisms. Teknor Apex Company will use NPE2009 to introduce its new Bioplastics Division and the first commercial compounds in its Terraloy range, consisting of blends of thermoplastic starch with other bioplastics and with conventional polymers like polypropylene. (see pg. 19)
According to the SPI, the 39 conference presentations dealing specifically with bioplastics will take place in four educational programs co-located with NPE2009. These will include ten presentations in the Business of Plastics conference; 26 in the ANTEC 2009 technical conference; two in the PET Strategies Plus conference; and one in the Spanish-language Seminario Latinoamericano.
Additionally, bioplastics will be one of four technologies to be the focus of exhibits in the Emerging Technologies Pavilion, with DuPont Company as the major pavilion sponsor, and Dow Chemical Company as sponsor of a sector on sustainability.
“At the last NPE in 2006, bioplastics were still something of a curiosity, but at NPE2009 literally dozens of organizations will have something important about bioplastics to say or demonstrate,” Hockstad said. “There will be implications for every major plastics market, from appliances and automotive, to electronics and medical, to sporting goods and packaging.” CPL