Corn-based plastics the next ethanol?

Ethanol revolutionized corn demand.  And the Minnesota Corn Growers believe corn-based plastics could have a similar impact.

MCGA president Brian Thalmann says the Association recently invested more than $450,000 towards research conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Polymers to develop the next generation of bio-plastics.

“The world use of petroleum-based plastics is enormous. And a product like this, ethanol was one particular product. Here we’re talking about thousands of different products.”

Once the refining of polymers becomes more efficient and affordable, he tells Brownfield the building blocks for corn-based plastics will be in place.

“So long term, could it become a very large player and use of corn? Absolutely.”

Thalmann says in the near term, research is focused on adding toughness, strength, and other characteristics that will expand applications of corn-based plastics.

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