Sponsored by Forest Grove Economic Development
Home Back Issues May 2011 Plastic from poplars

Plastic from poplars

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

 

0511_NextPoplar trees are widely grown for biofuels. Oregon State University professors Steven Strauss and Murphy Ganti and David Dalton from Reed College want to harvest plastics from them as well. Success could potentially provide a more sustainable alternative to oil-based plastics. Scientists have been experimenting with biopolymers, plant-derived plastics, for years, but the bulk of this research has focused on deriving bioplastics from plants and fungi, not trees. The benefit of growing biopolymers on poplar trees, says Strauss, is that it’s more efficient; trees grow quickly in natural sunlight, as opposed to bacteria, which have to be grown in labs. The hurdle is that the ratio of biopolymer that the leaf currently yields is only between 1% and 2%. In order to be economically viable, the amount of biopolymer in a given leaf must be between 10% and 12%. The team is now tweaking its approach to get to that higher yield by introducing a polymer-initiating chemical into a different part of the tree cell. By using this method, they hope to increase biopolymer yields without hindering tree growth. Strauss estimates they’ll need another three to four years of research; similar research on tobacco plants suggests it’s feasible. “These kinds of programs don’t have short payoffs,” Strauss says.

ILIE MITARU
 

More Articles

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

Register for 100 Best Companies survey

News
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OBM-100-best-logo-2015 150pxwBy Kim Moore | OB Editor

The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.


Read more...

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


Read more...

Portland rises

News
Monday, August 18, 2014

IMG 2551Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.


Read more...

Green Endeavor cleans up

News
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
080614 ULnew greenendeavorBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS