Northern Technologies International (NTIC) has secured $500,000 of a Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research (DoD-SBIR) Phase II grant to develop marine eco-friendly and bio-based non-plastic bags. The company together with Michigan State University will conduct this research program.
Presently, the U.S. Navy uses both paper and plastic bags for collecting solid waste on the ship. According to the international MARPOL treaty’s Annex V rules, any plastic waste that is produced in the ship cannot be disposed in the sea. These wastes have to be gathered, accumulated in the ship and brought back for proper disposal on land. These conditions remarkably affect the solid waste management onboard, and will be a challenge for the Naval fleet, due to storage, labor and offload needs. Consequently, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Navy are financially supporting a SBIR project in order to discover a feasible solution to this challenge.
During the Phase I DoD-SBIR project, NTIC and MSU jointly built a new technology by employing a coating material, which is a customized plant oil-based product, on specific paper substrates. According to the ASTM D7081 standard, defined that the bags created from this coated paper is marine biodegradable, have resistance to water, high-strength, and can be conveniently treated with additional organic wastes in the waste processing device in the ship. Currently, the aim of the Phase II will be to additionally fine-tune the product by pilot tests, and define the engineering and kinetic process parameters, along with process economics for significant biobased coatings product manufacturing.
This funding is an addition to the phase II grant of the National Science Foundation Small Business Technology Transfer (NSF-STTR) of $500,000 to create Advanced Polylactide (PLA) materials for eco-friendly and bio-based plastic products.