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Biomaterials: Starch technology rights granted to Teknor Apex

Exclusive rights for a unique method for blending relatively low-cost theromoplastic starch (TPS) with synthetic polymers or bioplastics has been granted to Teknor Apex Co. (Pawtucket, RI; teknorapex.com) from its developer Cerestech Inc. (Montreal, QC; www.cerestech.ca). This technology involves preparing TPS from starch granules, which can then be combined as a masterbatch with bioplastics like polylactic acid (PLA) or polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), or with petrochemical-based polymers like polyethylene.

). This technology involves preparing TPS from starch granules, which can then be combined as a masterbatch with bioplastics like polylactic acid (PLA) or polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), or with petrochemical-based polymers like polyethylene. The agreement gives Teknor Apex exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture and market products based on Cerestech’s patented technology. Use of the blending process can be sublicensed.

This technology allows TPS from vegetable sources like corn, wheat, or potato to be combined with other polymers, resulting in better performance properties than those typical for conventional blends containing starch, according to John Andries, senior VP of technology for Teknor Apex. “The Cerestech technology yields blends that, even at high starch loadings, retain a substantial portion of the mechanical properties of the bioplastic or synthetic base polymers,” Andries says. “They exhibit lower levels of sensitivity to moisture than many other starch-containing plastics, are translucent, printable, and sealable, and can be formulated for biodegradable applications.”

A pilot plant is being installed at Teknor’s world headquarters in Rhode Island, which will produce both masterbatches and ready-to-process compounds for use in injection molded applications such as packaging and automotive parts.

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