Green Building Products and Polymers and Fuels Derived from Biomass Win Clean Technology Awards

The top awards in the third annual Clean Technology Business Forum and Competition went to Avantium, the developer of a technology for creating polymers and fuels from biomass, and VAST Enterprises LLC, creator of a new type of masonry based on post-consumer plastics, it was announced today by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).

Organized by SPE’s Environmental Division, the Clean Technology event took place as part of the recent Global Plastics Environmental Conference (GPEC) in Orlando, FL. More than twenty companies had entered the competition, from which six finalists were chosen to make presentations at GPEC.

“SPE’s Clean Technology competition is an opportunity for inventors, emerging companies, and established firms with revenues under $5-million to present innovations that make possible the use of materials and energy from renewable sources, substantially reduce resource consumption, or dramatically reduce or eliminate emissions and waste,” said Environmental Division chairperson Susan M. Kozora, engineering manager of International Automotive Components (IAC).

Sponsor of the competition was Battelle, the international non-profit R&D organization. The competition was judged by representatives of Battelle, Cascadia Capital, Emerald Technology Ventures, Modern Plastics Worldwide magazine, SPM Technologies, and the winner of the 2009 competition, FRX Polymers. Eric Koester, an attorney with the law firm Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, served as coordinator of the Clean Technology Forum.

Winners Open New Possibilities for ‘Green’ Monomers and Building Products

First place winner Avantium is developing an efficient, low-cost process to convert carbohydrates from biomass into furanic chemical building blocks using new catalytic technology. Covered by 15 patents, the technology could be used to create a biobased route to polyesters, polyamides, and polyurethane, as well as “green” fuels. The technology makes possible a polycondensation polymerization process that could be run in retrofitted resin reactors. Avantium is based in Amsterdam, and its CEO is Tom van Aken.

Runner-up VAST Enterprises LLC has developed patented technology to convert post-consumer recycled rubber and plastics into a composite material for use in masonry. VAST uses the technology to manufacture green alternatives to molded concrete and clay brick, such as injection molded paving bricks, or pavers.

Launched in 2007, the bricks, which are supplied with a molded sub-structure to ease installation and alignment, are made from 95% recycled materials. Compared with concrete counterparts, they consume 82% less energy and 89% less carbon dioxide in their manufacture. The bricks are available in different colors, come with a lifetime warranty against cracking, and have an anticipated product life of 25-30 years.

At GPEC 2010, VAST Enterprises was also awarded the SPE Environmental Division: Design for Sustainability award. The CEO of the Minneapolis-based company is Andy Vander Woude.

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