Troy University to Research Hemp Fibers for Biodegradable Plastics
Troy University’s Center for Materials and Manufacturing Sciences has partnered with the National Hemp Growers Cooperative (NHGC) to further research the development of biodegradable plastics by using hemp fibers.
“When you think about the advantage of hemp-based bioplastic, it makes for a better environment. It’s biodegradable, it’s a renewable resource and it’s tough. Not only is it good for the economy, but it’s also good for our world,” said Jack Hawkins, Jr., chancellor of Troy University. “This is a step in a major initiative that will grow this University in an exciting new way. We look forward to what the National Hemp Growers Cooperative can mean to this partnership.”
In addition to research and development, the goal of the partnership is to foster academic exchanges with other regional universities and to facilitate partnerships with regional industries.
“The use of bio-based plastics is full of potential, in particular for the US automotive industry. Industrial hemp is already proven to be an excellent source for bio-based plastics, but we need to create even more uses by blending with recyclable plastics,” said Nick Walters, managing partner of the NHGC. “We can think of no better partner than Troy University. This is the beginning of hopefully a long-lasting relationship as we work to create more market opportunities for our grower-members while developing biodegradable plastics.”
Under the umbrella of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center was established in 2018 with help from a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and has since received two additional grants from NIST totaling more than $5 million. Other areas of research include looking for ways to reduce medical waste through innovative techniques to recycle medical plastics including PPEs.