What price premium will you pay for bioplastics? In general, look for a premium of 20 to 30 percent above what you now pay for a comparable material. That’s an artificial figure, but it’s what OEMs think customers will pay for the environmental friendliness plus the enhanced properties some of these grades will have.I say artificial, because seemingly like all things that overcome our “energy” or “global warming” crisis (pick your decade) costs will be very high until there is economy of scale. And economy of scale for plastics is huge. American OEMs that have been leaders in this field, such as John Deere, have not pursued bio materials for economic reasons. They pursued them for political reasons. Deere, for example, wanted to support its farmer-customers, particularly in the soybean area, where grants were available.
Dow Chemical and several other companies have launched a program in Omaha, Neb. to divert about 36 tons of plastics from landfills in its first phase, and convert it into energy used for cement production.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
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