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Environmental bioplastics research recognised

Environmentally sensitive bioplastics research recognised

HAMILTON, 4 August, 2008 – Dr. Johan Verbeek has been recognized for his research on turning sustainable or waste products into new materials – with a reduced impact on the environment.

Dr. Verbeek, a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato’s School of Science and Engineering, has been named as a finalist in the Agriculture and Environment category of the Bayer Innovators Awards.

His leading research focuses on developing technology that can turn low value or waste animal protein into biologically-derived plastics or bioplastics and biocomposites. Around 1.5kg of bioplastic can be produced from 1kg of blood meal, a waste product from the meat industry. The end products range from packaging through to consumer products.

The research is being commercialised by Novatein, a company set up by WaikatoLink, the commercial arm of the University of Waikato. The company, which has venture funding from Endeavour Capital, is continuing to refine and develop its processes under the guidance of Dr Verbeek.

There is a growing global demand for sustainable, biodegradable and recyclable plastic products due to an increased environmental awareness.

Novatein’s technologies are patent protected and offer compelling competitive advantages compared to traditional processes using traditional petrochemical-derived feedstock’s or diverted primary production, such as corn.

The Bayer Innovators Awards acknowledge New Zealand’s leading innovators – those who use their knowledge and commitment to improve the lives of New Zealanders and the wider world.

The six categories in the Bayer Innovators Awards are: Science and Health, Design and Engineering, Agriculture and Environment, Information Technology and Communications, Manufacturing, and Research and Development.

The overall winners from each category will be announced on August 5th at a special cocktail awards evening in Auckland.


About Novatein

Novatein specialises in the development of bio plastic technologies. The company was formed by WaikatoLink, the technology transfer office of the University of Waikato, and has venture funding from Endeavour Capital. Novatein’s technologies are the result of leading research conducted at the University of Waikato under the guidance of Dr Johan Verbeek, which has lead to the creation of high value bio degradable plastic products from low value waste streams. There is a growing global demand for sustainable, biodegradable and/or recyclable plastic products. Novatein’s technologies are patent protected and offer compelling competitive advantages compared to traditional processes using traditional petrochemical-derived feedstock’s or diverted primary production, such as corn.

About WaikatoLink
WaikatoLink Limited is a world class technology development and investment company, with a strong track record in translating research outcomes into commercial technologies. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Waikato, it achieves this by identifying, managing and commercialising the University’s intellectual property. WaikatoLink works closely with industry, investors and researchers to identify and develop market opportunities for new technologies, and plays a key role in University knowledge transfer for economic transformation. Since its establishment in 2002, WaikatoLink has completed numerous licensing deals and established more than 12 start-up companies and joint ventures, which have collectively created more than 138 full-time equivalent jobs and achieved market capitalisation nearing NZ$200 million. Three of its start-ups have already been successfully exited. WaikatoLink’s impressive performance is reflected in its Top 3% rating when benchmarked against US university technology transfer offices (AUTM survey data).

Bayer Innovators Awards


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