HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
David McCollum
User Rank
Gold
Eliminating Kudzu
David McCollum   7/20/2011 11:12:12 AM
NO RATINGS
I don't think anybody will be able to eliminate kudzu. That stuff will stand up to Round-up and these 100° degree Alabama summer days just make it grow faster. If we ever do find a use for it, that will be great.

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: What are the economics?
Dave Palmer   7/14/2011 5:55:51 PM
NO RATINGS
Wait a minute... if the goal is to eliminate the invasive species, then you wind up using up your feedstock.  Let's suppose kudzu-based plastic has incredible properties and everyone wants to use it.  How do you meet the demand, once you've successfully eradicated kudzu in the southern U.S.?

I agree that ideally bioplastics should be based on waste material rather than food crops, but I think this plan has a hole in it.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: What are the economics?
Tim   7/13/2011 2:21:48 AM
NO RATINGS
I agree on the usefullness of Kudzu as a bio fuel. There is an over abundance of it in the South, and it grows fast enough to swallow cars stopped at red lights. Harnessing this plant for use as something good for the environment would awesome.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: What are the economics?
TJ McDermott   7/12/2011 8:25:43 PM
NO RATINGS
Will any fast growing vegetation work?  Kudzu is also a southern nuisance plant.  Bamboo?  Blackberries?  All have growth that can be measured in inches per day, so would seem to be well suited.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: What are the economics?
Beth Stackpole   7/12/2011 5:39:37 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for putting Cogongrass on our radar screens, Doug. I'm sure there are the "northern" and "eastern" and "mid-western" equivalents of the southern scourge that would make equally good candidates as alternatives to oil and natural gas for making bioplastics. At some point, the economics just have to add up.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: What are the economics?
Rob Spiegel   7/12/2011 5:37:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Doug, you're right about the concern in Saudi Arabia over the very likely possibility that high oil prices could make a wide range of alternatives to oil feasible. The Saudi folks want to see oil come down to $80 a barrel in order to prevent the widespread development of alternatives. I don't see that happening. I would expect greed to keep oil high, and I also expect that alternatives to oil will keep popping up as long as we're seeing $100 barrels.

Douglas Smock
User Rank
Platinum
Re: What are the economics?
Douglas Smock   7/12/2011 10:40:35 AM
NO RATINGS


Good questions Alex. Bioplastics, in general, are more expensive than their oil-based counterparts. The price of oil, of course, is a key factor in the relative economics of the feedstocks. Whenever the price of oil passes a critical tipping point, producers such as Saudi Arabia step in to make sure the alternative fuels, energy sources and feedstocks don't become too appealing. DuPont and other companies say they are interested in developing feedstocks from waste biomass, but need to study the economics. Cogongrass is a good place to start.

The bottom line, however, remains the bottom line. Very few companies will pay a premium for bioplastics. There are negative property trade-offs in some cases that also need to be seriously considered. 

 

 

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Blogger
What are the economics?
Alexander Wolfe   7/12/2011 10:17:45 AM
NO RATINGS
Interesting how the realization that oil prices are not going to be going anywhere but up appears to finally be driving serious searches for alternatives, not just in energy but, as you report here, in manufacturing processes which have traditionally been petrochemically based. I'm curious about the economics of cogoongrass-based plastics. Is it analogous to shale oil, in that it only makes sense when oil is really $$ (which would mean that if the price does dip for a prolonged period, cogoongrass-based plastics would not be competitive during that period)?



Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
Fifteen European research centers have launched EuroCPS to help European companies develop innovative products for the Internet of Things.
Get your Allman Brothers albums ready. The iconic Volkswagen Microbus may be poised for a comeback, and this time it could be electric.
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
More:Blogs|News
Design News Webinar Series
3/31/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
2/25/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
5/7/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Apr 20 - 24, Taking the Internet of Things to the Cloud
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6 |  7


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Last Archived Class
Sponsored by Proto Labs
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2015 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service