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UMass Lowell announced a licensing agreement with Metabolix Inc. for the production of improved high performance plastics that are biobased, sustainable and biodegradable.
The patented material method allows for blending of different biodegradable plastics to make them more usable. It was developed by Stephen McCarthy, plastics engineering professor and director of the Biodegradable Polymer Research Center.
Marty Meehan, chancellor-elect of UMass Lowell, said, "This agreement is an important step in making plastics that don't harm the environment, and it reflects our mission at the University to translate innovation into marketable products that serve the Commonwealth."
Dr. Anne-Marie Baker, managing director of the Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP) office, brokered the agreement, which includes a fee for access to the intellectual property and royalties based on sales. Metabolix will scale up for commercial manufacturing and will do the marketing.
“This agreement reflects our mission at CVIP to translate the wonderful inventions produced by our faculty into the marketplace, into products that serve people and improve efficiencies,” says Baker.
The potential market is huge. More than 350 billion pounds of plastic is produced each year ߝ 99 percent of it from non-renewable resources ߝ and it consumes nearly 10 percent of total U.S. oil use. Plastic production thus contributes to the world’s growing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on oil. Disposal of non-biodegradable plastics has a significant, adverse impact on the environment.