Npe2009 Preview: Teknor Apex Gets Greener With Canadian Technology
Material supplier Teknor Apex is licensing an innovative starch-blend technology from Canadian-based Cerestech Inc. Developed by Dr. Basil Favis, who founded Cerestech as a spinoff company from Montreal's cole Polytechnique, the technology is...
Material supplier Teknor Apex is licensing an innovative starch-blend technology from Canadian-based Cerestech Inc.
Developed by Dr. Basil Favis, who founded Cerestech as a spinoff company from Montreal’s cole Polytechnique, the technology is based on blending relatively low-cost thermoplastic starch (TPS) with synthetic polymers or other bioplastics, and makes it possible to combine other polymers with TPS from vegetable sources like corn, wheat, or potato without losing key performance properties.
Pawtucket, R.I.-based Teknor Apex will use the technology to produce both masterbatches and ready-to-process compounds under the brand name Terraloy, to be commercially unveiled at NPE2009.
According to Dr. Robert Brookman, vice president for business development at Teknor Apex, the Cerestech technology overcomes a critical handicap inherent to other bioplastics. “Normally when you mix starch with plastics, the properties of the plastics deteriorate rather badly,” he said. “The Cerestech process allows the starch to be dispersed very uniformly within the host plastic, resulting in mechanical properties that are very similar to the host plastic. They exhibit lower levels of sensitivity to moisture than many other starch-containing plastics, are translucent, printable, and sealable, and can be formulated for biodegradable applications.”
Teknor Apex has already begun installation of a pilot plant, capable of producing up to one million pounds of Cerestech per year, at its world headquarters in Pawtucket.
“We see great growth potential in bioplastic products,” Brookman said. “While it remains a boutique market in North America – unlike Europe, where it’s growing much faster – we believe the market will increase quickly in years to come, and we’re positioning ourselves to capitalize on that.” CPL