Expert in Environmentally-Compatible Polymers
Expert ID: 108148
Expert is an expert in environmentally-compatible materials, including biodegradable plastics and polymers, plastic environmental effects, plastic non-hazardous solid waste management, paper coatings, and moisture barrier material. He has conducted research on the design and engineering of new biodegradable materials that are thermoplastic, yet break down under appropriate environmental conditions, much like its organic (lignocellulosic) counterpart. Their major end-uses are in moisture and grease barrier paper coatings, as well as disposable, single-use packaging, cutlery, and nonwovens. He has conducted major research programs with industry, and serves as a consultant for several companies. He holds several patents in the area of biodegradable polymers, has written in over sixty refereed scientific journals, and, in the past two years, has made over 100 invited presentations to major corporations and international conferences. In addition, he testified before two U.S. Senate committees on the subject of environmentally compatible polymers. Currently, he is working on the commercialization of a protein (zein) coating for paper and paperboard as a replacement for the currently-used plastic coatings. Unlike the plastic coatings, these new corn-based coatings are biodegradable and hydrolyzable. Thus, these new coatings will be compatible with composting and recycling infrastructures. The commercial development of this product is being conducted in conjunction with Grand Metropolitan PLC (parent company of Burger King, Pillsbury, Haagen-Das, and Alpo), a major paper company, and a large corn refiner (zein producer).
Expert is president and CEO of BioPlastics Inc., a company that is manufacturing poly(caprolactone)-starch resins for compost and retail carry-out bags. The technology was developed at Michigan State University (MSU) and is covered by three patents. MSU licensed the technology to BioPlastics through Michigan Biotechnology Institute (MBI). Additionally, Expert developed a biodegradable, modified starch thermoplastics technology with polystyrene properties. The technology is covered by five patents and forms the basis of a joint venture company: EverCorn Inc., with a major Japanese corn wet miller, Japan Corn Starch. Currently, a pilot-scale operation is in place to sample customers in thousand pound quantities. In January, 1996, Expert formed a third company, Lions Adhesives Inc., to develop a portfolio of fully biodegradable packaging adhesives and bio-based wood adhesives (to replace formaldehyde-based wood adhesives). The company was capitalized with $600,000 and has two full-time and four half-time employees.
Expert's expertise includes plastic biodegradation, plastic degradation, and plastic nonhazardous solid waste management. The mere production of biodegradable materials does not ensure market, environmental, or regulatory acceptance of these products. The ultimate disposability of these materials, and the environmental benefits that accrue from the use and disposal of them, as opposed to today's non-biodegradable synthetic-based materials, are currently being demonstrated with the support of an industrial consortium and the U.S. Government. Currently, fundamental studies and field trials are underway on the composting of selective waste streams (which includes the new biodegradable materials) and plastics to quality, humic-rich compost. This project will establish the potential benefits of applying such quality compost on agricultural land in terms of sustainable agriculture concepts, as well as recycling waste to useful products.
Expert is well-versed in polymer recycling, polymer modification chemistry, polymer blends, polymer alloying, reactive polymers, compatibilizing agents, and fiber-reinforced composites. He has extensive experience in the design and engineering of biofiber-polypropylene composites with properties comparable to that of glass fiber-reinforced PP composites and the ability to be recycled (unlike its glass fiber analog). He has expertise in reactive extrusion processing, including polymer modification such as maleation and sulfonation. He is experienced in carrying out polymer modifications in the extruder to enhance compatibility with other polymers, and has done much work on the blending and alloying of natural and synthetic polymers, including detailed morphological characterization using electron microscopy (SEM, TEM, and confocal microscopy). Compatibilization of the blends was done by generating the graft copolymer (compatibilizing agent) in situ in the extruder. He has also used these concepts to utilize recycled and reclaimed thermoplastics in the engineering of higher-value composite materials.
Expert has extensive experience with amylose, amylopectin, cellulose, cellophane, cellulose acetate, cellulose ester, cellulosic polymer, and cellulosic resin. He has worked extensively on cellulosic graft copolymers, and blends and alloys of cellulose acetate with both synthetic and natural polymers, including biofiber-based composites. He recently edited a book, "Emerging Technologies for Materials and Chemicals from Biomass," and contributed two chapters to the book. He also is National Technical Program Chairperson for the American Chemical Society's Cellulose, Paper, and Textile Division.
Expert has experience in LCA for meeting a product's environmental stewardship. He has published papers in the area, including a student thesis, entitled, "Investigation of Hierarchical Classification for Life Cycle Analyses." He is also a member of the ISO (International Standards Organization) - SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group on the Environment) LCA sub-group.
He worked with KTM Industries (a Michigan company), to design and manufacture light-weight, non-toxic, extrusion foamed starch products that have water wetable adhesive properties to create a new family of arts and crafts materials and speciality toys for children. The first product is a multi-colored foamed building block that is marketed under the brand name "Wet N' Set Magic Nuudles".He developed biodegradable, modified starch thermoplastics technology with polystyrene properties. The technology is covered by three patents and forms the basis of a joint venture company in Michigan, EverCorn Inc., with a major Japanese corn wet miller, Japan Corn Starch. A $ 2MM R&D phase was completed in July of 1995. Currently, a pilot-scale operation is in place to sample customers in thousand pound quantities. He served as one of the Directors of EverCorn Inc., and directed the technology development and pilot plant operations. He developed Poly(lactic acid) technology and conducted engineering scale-up studies on the PLA technology for Cargill Inc. The technology is currently being commercialized through a Cargill-Dow Chemical joint venture company.Founding President & CEO of a start-up company, BioPlastics Inc., which is manufacturing poly(caprolactone)-starch resins for compost and retail carry-out bags. The technology was developed at MSU and is covered by seven patents. MSU licensed the technology to BioPlastics through MBI. The company launched in February of 1995 with an initial capitalization of $500,000. Co-founded Lions Adhesives Inc. in January 1996 (now EcoSynthetix Inc. to develop a portfolio of environmentally responsive biobased adhesives that are non interfering in paper recycling operations and biodegradable in composting processes. The company has been financed through investors to the tune of $ Two million. Currently has seven full-time and several part-time employees. Served as Founding Director, and Vice-President of Strategic Technology Development.