Pulp and paper waste is the big new headliner as a feedstock for bioplastics. Corn was the big early play, but that has changed. The latest news: CSM subsidiary Purac said it has signed a contract to participate in a consortium that will develop a process to produce feedstock from cellulosic waste derived from the pulp and paper industry for the production of lactic acid. The other partners in the program are Crown Van Gelder N.V., a paper-producing company, and Bumaga B.V., a development center in the paper and board industry. The project is partly funded by the Dutch Ministries of Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The Dutch government has been a major supporter of bioplastics, and one of the other major players is DSM.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
Researchers at MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory are developing shoulder- and hip-mounted robotic arms to help workers in aircraft manufacturing perform difficult or complex assembly tasks that would normally require two people.
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