U of G Hosts International Bioplastics and Green Composites Conference

March 30, 2010 - News Release

Should bioproduct manufacturers receive public subsidies to spur more "green" consumption? Should Canada follow other countries' lead and adopt specific targets for use of renewable resources?

Policies and products will be on the agenda during this year's "Bioplastics and Green Composites 2010" workshop to be held in Guelph March 31 to April 1.

The gathering will draw about 100 participants from industry, government and academia to discuss the growing bioeconomy in Canada and worldwide.

Making biobased plastics from plants will reduce dependency on petroleum-based goods and help reduce Canada's carbon footprint, said conference chair Amar Mohanty, a plant agriculture professor at Guelph.

Car parts, utility boxes and biodegradable shopping bags made from plant biomass are among many products being tested in U of G's Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC).

"My vision is that in 15 years we will see all plastics made only from biomass," said Mohanty, who holds the Ontario Premier's Research Chair in Biomaterials and Transportation at the University. "Hybrid technology with combined bio- and petro-sources to make car parts or packaging materials will also prevail in the expanding bioeconomy."

He hopes to persuade policy-makers to consider public subsidies for bioproduct makers and to implement goals for specific amounts of renewable resources used in products.

Workshop speakers from Canada, the United States, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands will discuss green packaging and car parts, bioproduct markets and policy, and renewable and biodegradable plastics. Guelph engineering professor Manju Misra will speak on "Nano-enhanced Bioplastics and Hybrid Biocomposites."

Mohanty heads a team of researchers from four Ontario universities who received $3.5 million from Queen's Park earlier this year to make industrial products from plant materials such as lignin.

The workshop will take place at the Delta Hotel and Conference Centre and will include a tour of the BDDC. The BDDC is an interdisciplinary centre where plant biologists, chemists and engineers study biomaterials and commercial applications for auto, packaging and building industries.

For more information, visit the conference website.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1