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Sustainability in a Nutshell: Why the USDA is Exploring Agricultural-Derived Composites

Lisa Pierce  (Executive Editor, Packaging Digest)

Location: Center Stage

Date: Wednesday, February 12

Time: 10:25am - 11:00am

Track: Center Stage

Vault Recording: TBD

California produces over 80% of the world’s almonds, leaving over a billion pounds of shells that go to waste every year. A process known as torrefaction converts waste biomass into a composite polymer filler that makes plastics stronger, more heat-resistant, and more sustainable. Bioproducts research team at the USDA’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, CA, has been researching and optimizing torrefaction of biomass fillers for plastic polymer composites for several years. Gain insights on the progress, challenges and opportunities in sustainable, agriculturally-derived composites.

Topics covered include:

  • Applications of agriculturally-derived polymer composites that incorporate TAS and other biomass feedstocks
  • How the torrefaction process works to convert hydrophilic almond shell waste biomass to a hydrophobic filler for polymer composites
  • Progress in the USDA and partner efforts to make almond shells a standardized, viable feedstock for polymer composites with established technical standards
  • How partner brands are working with the USDA to overcome challenges related to recycling polymer composites and scale-up of operations

Presentation File

ANA2020_SustainabilityInANutshellWhy_Pierce.pdf