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The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) invests in research that takes a look at finding new uses for corn. One promising area of new uses research aims to find new manufacturing processes that move towards the incorporation of new more “green chemicals”.

For example, in 2015 Iowa Corn received a patent on its process for making isosorbide, a key ingredient in the production of bioplastics.  Additional patents have been filed to make other bioplastics from corn.  These include products like monoethylene glycol (MEG), a drop-in replacement for current, petroleum-based MEG.  By 2017, the USDA estimates the bioplastics market will consume more than two billion pounds of plastic a year. This equates to 100 million bushels of corn. Traditional plastics use five percent of the global petroleum supply.

The key goals of ICPB’s bioplastic additive research include:

  • Expand the market for corn by licensing patented technology
  • Enter into new market opportunities
  • Develop renewable packaging materials
  • Replace petroleum derivatives with renewable products
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