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Ohio’s Polymer Cluster Awarded $51M in Federal Funding

It is one of 12 recipients of funding through the federal Tech Hubs program, which supports regions with the potential to become global innovation centers.

Geoff Giordano

July 5, 2024

1 Min Read
Akron skyline at night
Greater Akron is home to more than 150 plastics-related businesses.Sean Pavone/iStock via Getty Images

Polymer-rich Northeast Ohio is receiving a $51 million investment through the federal Tech Hubs program, which supports regions with the potential to transform into globally competitive innovation centers. 

Specifically, the Polymer Industry Cluster of Greater Akron, with more than 150 polymer-related manufacturing companies, has been named one of 12 national award recipients. More than 500 polymer-related manufacturing companies operate throughout Northeast Ohio, and the region is focusing on the next wave of industry innovation — particularly sustainable polymers research.

Targeting better environmental outcomes.

This investment is expected to catalyze industry development that results in the removal of millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the environment annually while sparking new manufacturing solutions that have less environmental impact. Key technology projects funded by this award will focus on:

  • Commercializing the recycling of end-of-life tires.

  • Developing sustainable polymer composites via liquid phase mixing.

  • Manufacturing sustainable bio-based butadiene for green synthetic rubber.

  • Advancing formulation of carbon nanotube–based polymer composites.

  • Developing safer antidegradants for tires and plastics.

More than 4,000 new jobs expected.

Related:Talent Talk: The Beginning of a Plastics Upturn

Technology innovation driven by this award is expected to attract enough new businesses and talent to create more than 4,000 jobs and attract more than $1 billion of private investment in expanded production capacity and have a $5 billion total economic impact in Northeast Ohio.

Workforce development for the region will also benefit, with funding used to advance educational initiatives with universities and workforce partners to improve the region’s pipeline of sustainability talent. 

The Polymer Industry Cluster, launched three years ago, was designated in October 2023 as the U.S. Sustainable Polymers Tech Hub and granted $400,000 for strategy development by the Economic Development Administration. The cluster’s new $51 million award will be augmented by $7 million of partner investment.

About the Author(s)

Geoff Giordano

Geoff Giordano is a tech journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of publishing. He has reported extensively on the gamut of plastics manufacturing technologies and issues, including 3D printing materials and methods; injection, blow, micro and rotomolding; additives, colorants and nanomodifiers; blown and cast films; packaging; thermoforming; tooling; ancillary equipment; and the circular economy. Contact him at [email protected].

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