Another Biopolymer success story is happening in the rolling hills of northeastern Nebraska, where Laurel BioComposite LLC (NPE 2012, booth 61058 – www.laurelbiocomposite.com) is ramping up production of its patent-pending Bio-Res™ material. Bio-Res is a high-performance, cost effective replacement for traditional petroleum-based resins in a variety of manufacturing processes for plastics.
ENTEK began working with Laurel in May 2009, when company officials came to ENTEK to begin lab trials on the development of an ethanol byproduct. “The material we worked with Laurel on was corn-based, behaved like a fiber, and is considered a polymer extender,” said Dean Elliott, ENTEK’s Lab Manager. “After numerous lab trials over the past four years, we’re happy that Laurel is achieving great success with their product and moving forward with their company’s growth.”
With its recent purchase of a new ENTEK 53mm twin-screw extruder, Laurel has taken the next step in its strategy to provide injection molders with Bio-Res. At Laurel’s pilot plant in Nebraska, the new ENTEK extruder will support production of 8 million lbs./year, 1/6 of the projected full-scale plant capacity.
“Customers want to know that Laurel has substantial production capacity available,” said Tim Bearnes, President of the Board for Laurel BioComposite. “The addition of the ENTEK extruder will allow us to make test articles market batches for customers before the full scale masterbatch plant is completed. From those test batches we plan on expanding to a 48 million pounds per year plant later this year.”
Bio-Res is available in pellet form which blends easily with PE, PP, PLA and PHA materials. It has been tested to replace 20-40% of base resins and is especially suited for use in a range of industries including shipping, lawn and garden, agriculture and automotive.
(published in April 2012 Extrusion Solutions Newsletter)