BECON Iowa Energy Center Studies New Method for Manufacturing Plastics

The BECON Iowa Energy Center, Iowa State University, is currently conducting a study to examine the feasibility of transforming farm crops and wastes into plastics or nylon. The study is part of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to make their programs more efficient, effective and user-friendly.

EPA Assistant Administrator Marianne Horinko launched a series of fresh new pilots to test ideas for environmental and public health protection. Region 7 received funding for three programs, one of which is the Biomass Energy Conversion Study.

Floyd Barwig, Director of the Iowa Energy Center, states that, "Plastics derived from petroleum are integral to our society. BECON is ideally suited to demonstrate that these same plastics can be economically made in a more environmentally-friendly manner, from readily available plant-based agricultural wastes. The EPA grant will help achieve this goal."

This pilot will investigate the possibility of setting up new methods for making plastics from crops, crop waste and manure. The remaining two Region 7 projects were a grant given to the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation for an Integrated Tribal Environmental Center, and funds to demonstrate facility decontamination in the Wood Preserving Industry.