Faux-berglass? Bio plastic technology holds promise for petroleum-free fiberglass

🔬 RESEARCH: A Michigan State University research team is developing bio renewable resins that do not contain styrene, which is made from petroleum.

  • The bio plastics would have wide applicability for products currently made from fiberglass compounds including windmill blades, boats, countertops, and bathroom fixtures.
  • The prototype bio renewable resin system was formulated using poly(lactide) (PLA) and methyl methacrylate, making it more sustainable and resource-renewable than existing resins.
  • Preliminary data shows a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with existing technologies.
  • “[T]here is a growing awareness that styrene has several shortcomings. It is not based on renewable resources, is a volatile organic compound, and indicated as a potential human carcinogen,” said graduate student Harshal Bambhani in a news release.

🌞 SOLAR: University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have created a highly efficient, long lasting solar flow battery that can generate, store, and deliver renewable energy from the sun. The energy storage system is touted as 40% more efficient than the previous record holder for solar flow batteries.

🚗 TRANSPORTATION: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launched the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification to serve as an umbrella organization that will promote the development and scaling of next-generation transportation technologies. State government, academics, and private industry will collaborate through the office, including on developing transportation electrification policies.

***SPONSORED LINK: The Cleanie Awards — the #1 awards program in clean technology — is now accepting applications! Submit to win, or contact us with any questions. Applications close July 30.***


  • Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are forming the new Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation with a five-year, $15.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The research center will address technological, scientific, and societal problems including climate change.
  • Worthington, Ohio-based COhatch and Ohio State University are partnering on a new integrated co-working and tech development space to serve the startup and academic communities, with special programming and support for OSU students.

💰 FUNDING: Private equity firm Middleburg Capital Development has invested an undisclosed amount of money in South Bend, Indiana, solar project developer Inovateus Solar, which will use the money to scale operations and expand beyond the Midwest.

Who else is developing noteworthy tech in the Midwest? Let me know so I can include them in our coverage. Send news tips, press releases, and feedback to katie@centered.tech or connect on LinkedIn and Twitter @centereddottech.

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