Another major consumer package is moving from oil-based plastics to plant-based plastics. The iconic Heinz ketchup bottles will be made in part (30 percent) from sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil. The Heinz bottle will be based on Coca-Cola’s breakthrough PlantBottle packaging.
PlantBottle packaging looks, feels and functions just like traditional PET plastic, and remains fully recyclable. It is not biodegradable. Heinz’s new technology will be the biggest change to its ketchup bottles since they were converted to plastic in 1983. Heinz will introduce PlantBottle in all 20-ounce ketchup bottles in June. Coca-Cola launched the bioplastic packaging in 2009 on brands that include Coke, Sprite, and Fresca.
An initial life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College London showed that the use of PlantBottle packaging provides a 12-19 percent reduction in carbon impact. In 2010 alone, the use of this breakthrough packaging eliminated the equivalent of almost 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or approximately 60,000 barrels of oil, according to Coca-Cola.
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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