The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) has just been issued a new patent relating to the imporved process used in making bio plastics. The patent specifically pertains to the compound isosorbide, which allows the use of more bio material in plastics and improves other properties, such as a plastic’s melting temperature.
The patent, titled “Dianhydrosugar Production Process,” eliminates the need for an expensive vacuum or inert gas as well as solvents considered environmentally unfriendly. Together these improvements mean a cheaper process using more corn.
“The new patented process allows for the increased production of corn derived isosorbide creating new markets for corn farmers,” said Research and Business Development Committee Chair Curt Mether, a corn farmer from Harrison County. “This allows for a reduction in the amount of petroleum needed to make plastics, lowers carbon emissions and decreases the cost of consumer goods manufactured employing this process.”
The Iowa Corn Research and Business Development Committee funds research to develop new uses for corn in the area of bioplastics. By 2017, the USDA estimates the bioplastics market will consume more than two billion pounds of plastic a year. This equates to 100 million bushels of corn. Traditional plastics use five percent of the global petroleum supply.
This is one example of the ICPB research yielding results for Iowa’s corn farmers. Also on the project table for ICPB investments are items such as bottles, dining utensils, and shopping bags, all of which can be made from corn.