Bio-Plastic Solutions, a Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, company, was named Ag Innovator of the Year by the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI). The Ag Innovator Award is a recognition AURI began in 2002 to honor clients who have contributed to the economy and helped grow value-added agriculture in Minnesota by creating new products or processes using agriculture products.
Bio-Plastic Solutions, led by CEO Gary Noble, produces a “green” alternative to petrochemical-based plastics. The plastic components manufacturer converted to cornstarch-based polylactic acid (PLA) nine years ago and is one of the first in the nation to use renewable polymers in plastic profile extrusion. Plastics extrusion is a manufacturing process in which raw plastic material is melted and formed into a continuous profile for items such as piping and tubing, window frames, trimming, edging, deck railing, and more.
“Biobased products are a growing opportunity for our state,” explains AURI Chairman Rob Obermoller. “These products are being sought after by consumers who want ‘green’ products whenever possible. And they present an opportunity to grow the economy through new jobs. Gary and his team at BioPlastic Solutions have been a leader in biobased products in Minnesota.”
AURI partnered with Bio-Plastic Solutions to help bring their idea to reality, offering hands-on scientific assistance to conduct product testing and development as well as the resource networking that is a critical part of the innovation process.
Bio-Plastic Solutions product line now includes their trademark BioBest resin, BioEdge edgebanding, BioBead corner bead, and rolling walls and dividers. Currently a nine-man shop, Noble is optimistic that these products will lead to more jobs in the coming year.
AURI helps develop new uses for agricultural products through science and technology, partnering with businesses and entrepreneurs to bring ideas to reality, generating economic impact in Minnesota communities by helping businesses take advantage of innovative opportunities in four focus areas: biobased products, renewable energy, coproducts and food. AURI provides a broad range of services including applied research and development, scientific assistance, and a targeted network of resources to develop value-added uses for crops and coproducts.