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Stanford researchers develop biodegradable substitutes for wood, plastic bottles and other materials
Date:3/18/2009

alifornia Environmental Protection Agency to develop biodegradable plastics to replace the petrochemical plastics that are used to make disposable water and soda bottles. According to Cal/EPA, plastic bottles accumulate in landfills, the open ocean and coastal areas, causing major problems for birds, mammals and other marine life. "The goal of the state is to protect the environment and promote the development of a new industry that can produce low-cost bioplastics," Criddle said. "We have quite a team of students working on it. We're also collaborating with Curtis Frank, a professor of chemical engineering and a polymer plastics expert."

In 2008, Billington and Frank were awarded a grant from Stanford's Precourt Energy Efficiency Center to develop biodegradable foam for structural insulated panels. They also received new funding from the Woods Institute to explore the feasibility of using Criddle's polymers to manufacture "green glues" that make air quality in buildings less toxic. Lynn Hildemann, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, is collaborating on that project.

"We started with biocomposites, and now we're doing bioplastics and thinking about things that affect global warming," Criddle said.

"It's really exciting to watch how the research has branched out into so many areas, from biocomposites to new bioplastics, green glues and foam," Billington added. "The opportunity to collaborate with people of different expertise has been wonderful and very invigorating."


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Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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