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U. of M. gets $1.5 million grant for eco-friendly plastics research

Can plastics be more environmentally friendly and still remain cost-efficient? That's the question driving researchers at the University of Minnesota, and now they have some additional support for finding the answer.
Recently, researchers at the university's Center for Sustainable Polymers were awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Centers for Chemical Innovation program. The grant also makes the university eligible for additional funding opportunities in the future.
"We are tremendously excited about this new support from the NSF," noted Marc Hillmyer, director of the Center for Sustainable Polymers in a news release. "With our strong history in polymer science and seed funding from the University of Minnesota, we have already been able to establish a national presence in the sustainable polymer arena."
The Center focuses its research on creating advanced plastics from renewable, natural, and sustainable resources instead of fossil fuels. Researchers look at using sources like vegetable oils, sugars, and starches to develop materials that are cost-efficient, non-toxic, and able to be composted.
Hillmyer noted that the grant will help Minnesota become a leading global center of excellence in sustainable polymer science and greatly expand the center's capabilities.
"With Minnesota's leadership in the area of bio-based materials and the University's breadth of expertise, we are well positioned to make significant and important research contributions," he said.
What's the future of environment-friendly initiatives? One word: plastics.
Source: University of Minnesota
Writer: Elizabeth Millard
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