Federal loan guarantees may be required to move some new bioplastics ventures from the lab to commercial reality. An article in the Wall Street Journal says that Micromidas, a California company that make plastics from raw sewage is having trouble finding $10 million in capital required to build a plant.
Novomer, a Cornell spinoff that converts industrial carbon dioxide into plastics, needs a $100 million cash infusion to move from pilot scale to commercialization.
Coming to the rescue could be a five-year-old U.S. Department of Energy loan-guarantee program for new environmentally friendly technologies. The program is expected to shift its focus in 2011 from solar and wind projects to less-developed enterprises.
Meanwhile, a corporate funded program to convert industrial wastewater to plastics seems to be gaining traction in Sweden.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
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