Genetic modification moves to a new level with a technology to produce bioacrylic under development by OPX Biotechnologies, Boulder, CO. Since beginning pilot scale development in 2009, the company says it has reduced bioacrylic production cost by 85 percent. The target price is $0.50 per pound.
Its proprietary technology, called EDGE (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering), is said to rapidly develop a microbe and bioprocess. OPX generates mutations that track genes responsible for performance changes. OPX researchers then select genetic changes from a variety of randomly created strains and combine them. OPX claims its technology is 1,000 to 5,000 times faster than conventional genetic engineering methods. Biomass and other feedstocks are used.
OPX has retained Merrick & Company to design its demonstration and commercial manufacturing plants, which are scheduled to become operational in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
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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