COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State University has a new leader for its Renewable Packaging Initiative, aimed at developing commercial applications for bio-based materials.

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC) announce the appointment of Susan Stanton as Stakeholder-in-Residence. Stanton will direct program activities and link research and industry partners to support customer-focused packaging activities.

Stanton brings to Ohio State over 20 years experience in technology development and product commercialization at corporations such as ALCOA, Ashland Chemical Company and Bayer, as well as at the Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center.

"Packaging is a multibillion-dollar industry that impacts all business sectors," said CFAES Dean and Vice President for Agricultural Administration Bobby Moser. "Tremendous growth is projected for biobased plastics. Agriculturally derived polymers create an innovation opportunity to generate jobs and businesses close to home."

OBIC was established in 2005 with an $11.5 million award from Ohio's Third Frontier Project to link research and industry toward the commercialization of bio-based polymers, adhesives, coatings and other applications.

The initial packaging material to be evaluated is EarthFirst PLA film, manufactured from a corn-based polymer by Plastic Suppliers Inc., whose corporate offices are in Columbus, Ohio. "Renewable materials offer the potential for energy efficiency, compostability and other environmental benefits," OBIC Director Stephen Myers said. "Advancements have also improved performance and made manufacturing more cost-effective."

A resident of Sunbury, Ohio, Stanton received master's and doctoral degrees in organic chemistry from Syracuse University and the University of Rochester, respectively. She has five issued patents and more than 50 invention disclosures filed. Her portfolio also includes numerous publications and presentations on scientific topics, technology transfer, intellectual property portfolio analysis, technology commercialization and business development.

"The Renewable Packaging Initiative will accelerate Ohio's position as a leader in bio-products innovation," Stanton said. "There are excellent opportunities to bring these technology innovations to the commercial marketplace, as we work with companies to identify how renewable materials can help them meet their objectives for packaging systems."

Myers said Ohio is poised to lead the United States in a new era of bio-based materials. The state's two largest industries - agriculture and polymers - are working together to drive economic growth with this emerging technology, he pointed out.

More information about OBIC and the Renewable Packaging Initiative is online.

SOURCE: Ohio State news release.