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The research 3M, Ford and others are sponsoring in Ames

October 3, 2016

The research 3M, Ford and others are sponsoring in Ames

Someday, all your household plastics could be manufactured in Iowa, made from materials grown in Iowa fields. It’s a future being enabled by research now underway in Ames at The Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, and it could change Iowa’s economy forever.

3M, ADM, Diageo, Ford and Hyundai are just a few of the companies sponsoring the groundbreaking research into plastics made from plant matter. The chemicals used in making plastics that are normally derived from petroleum are instead extracted from plant materials like cornstalks and leaves.

This industry has enormous potential for Iowa. As the bioplastics industry matures, leading industry players will concentrate near the source of bioplastic raw materials.

This is where Iowa has an advantage. Iowa is home to the nation’s second largest supply of the harvestable plant matter scientists use to make renewable chemicals. They then derive those chemicals at bioprocessing facilities, and Iowa is home to more of those than any state in the country. Companies have been using the facilities to make ethanol and biodiesel for decades.

So Iowa has the biomass, and Iowa has the infrastructure to process that biomass into renewable chemicals. In addition, Iowa has the country’s only Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit, which provides financial incentives for making renewable chemicals.

Iowa makes a strong case – and it’s why in the not-too-distant future, Iowa could be a center of plastics production. For more on Iowa’s business advantages contact the Iowa Economic Development Authority at



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