Dow Launches Low Volatile Silicone Surfactants for PU Foam FormulationsPublished

The New VORASURF™ Surfactant Series Includes:


  • VORASURF™ DC 5951LV Additive: an innovation primarily aimed at EO-rich polyol-based MDI/TDI systems and low- to medium-density conventional foams, including those based on auxiliary blowing agents
  • VORASURF™ FF 5959 Additive: a new-generation surfactant offering finer control over cell size and foam recovery properties in flexible foam applications
  • VORASURF™ DC 5906LVVORASURF™ DC 5950LVVORASURF™ DC 198LV Additives: low cyclics, low volatile grades of globally recognized industry standards for bedding & furniture, including medium-high density conventional foams, MDI viscoelastic foams, and applications requiring excellent flame retardancy

This new series of novel VORASURF™ Surfactants is a testament to Dow’s commitment to bringing high quality, profitable polyurethane surfactant technology to the foam industry that address both the latest market trends and technical requirements,” said Justin Weare, North America marketing manager for polyurethane additives at Dow.

Empowering Formulators with Control Over Physical Properties of Foam

VORASURF™ Polyurethane Surfactants empower formulators with an enhanced level of control over the physical properties of their foam, helping them meet the latest specifications on volatile content and emissions required by leading brand owners such as IOS-MAT-0010. These new-generation additives also allow formulators to easily comply with demanding regulatory and sustainability requirements around the world, helping ensure safe and compliant furniture products.

Dr. Sachit Goyal, Dow’s technical service and development specialist, will present the specifics of these new options and showcase their performance attributes in flexible polyurethane foam applications in a webinar on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Mitsubishi Chemical Finalizes Take Over of Gelest

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) has completed the acquisition of Gelest from New Mountain Capital, LLC. Gelest manufactures and provides silane, silicone and metal-organic compounds serving advanced technology markets through a customer driven approach.

Business Opportunities in New Markets

MCC will continue to execute its strategy of enhancing its technology platform, leveraging its extensive R&D capabilities and pursuing new business development opportunities in new markets to drive further expansion in the future. Earlier, MCC announced that its subsidiary Mitsubishi Chemical America, Inc. entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Gelest Intermediate Holdings, Inc., the parent of Gelest, and a portfolio company of NMC.

MCC has now completed the acquisition, with Gelest becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical America.

MCC will dispatch an executive to Gelest and establish a Post-Merger Integration Office within the company to oversee the execution of identified strategies using the technology and capabilities of each organization to positively impact the value delivered to customers and the organization’s performance.

ArticleSolution Based Barrier Food Packaging Advancing Rapidly!

arrier packaging plays a vital role in protecting the quality of food from spoilage or degradation caused by oxygen, moisture, and bacteria.

Passive barrier layers limit oxygen and water vapor transmission into the package while vacuum packaging or modification of the gas in the package by purging with nitrogen or carbon dioxide provides additional protection.

Astute consumers, who want more functionality and who order online in increasing numbers are requiring a whole range of new, rigid and flexible food barrier technologies, like:

  • Thinner walled containers
  • Longer shelf life products
  • Transparent metal can replacement through sustainable antimicrobial film additives, and
  • 3D printed packaging mold advances

So, to keep up with the consumer needs — game-changing barrier innovations continue to evolve in the food packaging sector opening new opportunities.

» Review latest barrier innovations, promising materials & technologies for enhanced packaging benefits.

Let’s take a look at these latest barrier food packaging advances that can make our research work better.

#1 Plant Derived Plant Derived Antimicrobial in Multilayer Film Packaging

Fraunhofer IVV is working on the use of natural, plant-derived antimicrobials for packaging. Application of packaging materials that release antimicrobial substances to food surfaces is an attractive option to reduce and inhibit non-desirable microbial growth due to contamination and to prevent food loss.

Natural antimicrobial compounds are often preferred to synthetic substances. Fraunhofer has identified suitable antimicrobial substances, such as pelargonium and olive leaf extract, which are encapsulated to protect them during processing. They have been dispersed in polymers, coated on films, extruded, and intensively tested.

Work so far indicates the natural antimicrobials are suitable for extrusion and coating, and can withstand the processing temperatures involved.

Fraunhofer IVV's Plant Derived Antimicrobial Additive Technology for Packaging
Fraunhofer IVV’s Plant Derived Antimicrobial Additive Technology for Packaging


#2 Aluminum Replacement in Flexible Packaging

Valentis has developed a special coating to be integrated into a polymeric laminate which eliminates the use of aluminum foil in high barrier flexible packaging. The company has collaborated with one of Israel’s leading agricultural thermoplastics applications companies.

Valentis’s technology combines nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC) with additional nanoparticles to produce highly improved polymeric films. Used as a coating for increased strength or as a barrier against UV rays, oxygen and moisture, these films can be used in a diverse range of applications.

An initial product is a special coating to be integrated in a polymeric laminate, which eliminates the use of aluminum foil in high barrier flexible packaging for foodstuffs.

Valentis' Nanocrystalline Cellulose Additive Technology
Valentis’ Nano-Crystalline Cellulose (NCC) Additive Technology


#1. A. Schulman’s Simplified Multi-layer Structure

LyondellBasell’s A. Schulman division has completed research where multi-layer barrier structures could be simplified if EVOH, the oxygen barrier layer, could be protected in a different way. EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol) is commonly used in barrier film structures because of its high oxygen barrier.

However, its sensitivity to moisture means that it must usually be protected within a multilayer structure of its own, which makes manufacturing the film more complex. Rather than doing this, which usually means making at least a five-layer structure, A. Schulman proposed protecting the EVOH by incorporating it into a polymer blend. This is a traditional method for improving the gas barrier of a polymer by blending it with another higher barrier polymer.

A. Schulman’s current approach is different to some previous efforts as it uses a pre-compounding process to ensure that the multilayer morphology forms after resins are extruded into thin films. This is because the choice of polymeric compounds, in this case, EVOH and a highly dispersible polyolefin such as LLDPE (Linear Low-Density PolyEthylene), with proper compatibility and a viscosity match ensures that they will form into ‘linear bands’ when extruded, which approximates to the structure of a multilayer film.

One blend formulation, called B24, gave similar barrier properties as actual multilayered films. This film could easily be embedded into other multilayer films. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) images show that A. Schulman’s directly extruded B24 blend has a similar structure to a traditional multilayer film.

A. Schulman’s Directly Extruded B24 Blend (L), Traditional Multilayer Film (R)
AFM Image Shows A. Schulman’s Directly Extruded B24 Blend (L), Traditional Multilayer Film (R)


#4 Graham Packaging’s ThermaSet ‘Glass-Like’ Blow Molded PET Bottle

This ThermaSet blow-molded PET container for hot-fill, pasteurized food recently earned DuPont’s Diamond top packaging award. Among Thermaset’s key attributes are:

  • 50% greater side wall rigidity
  • Extended shelf life of two years or more through barrier technology
  • 90% lighter-weight than glass; shatter-resistant drop-in glass replacement on high-temperature fill lines
  • Thinner walls mean a narrower jar that frees shelf space and is easier to handle

ThermSet is a blow molding process in which standard bottle-grade resin is transformed into containers with properties way beyond existing PET. The jar looks a bit narrower, but its enhanced stiffness has the feel of glass. This type bottle package is ideal for grocery store center new product offerings. Its economical bottle size in center store display layouts yields extra store facing presence.

In the longer-term e-commerce boom, this type PET package is safer than glass in transport and at the final consumer delivery point!

Graham Packaging's ThermaSet Blow Molded PET Bottle
Graham Packaging’s ThermaSet ‘Glass-Like’ Blow Molded PET Bottle


#5 Rapak’s Oxygen Barrier Film Packaging for Bag-in-Box Wines

Albis collaborated with DS Smith to incorporate its Shelfplus oxygen scavenger in a bag-in-box film. It can increase the shelf life of wine after opening significantly — from 4-6 weeks to at least 26 weeks.

Developed for the Rapak division of DS Smith, the oxygen scavenger bag is used in a complete bag-in-box packaging system. The film package incorporates the low oxygen transfer rate Mustang wine tap developed by sister company Worldwide Dispensers. EVOH (Ethylene vinyl alcohol) in combination with Shelfplus can replace metallization in barrier packaging. Thus, it provides equal or better shelf life with low package carbon footprint.

It can be applied in film applications as well as for thermoforming.

Oxygen Scavenger in Albis Bag-in-Box Film Packaging
Rapak’s Shelfplus O2 Scavenger from Albis Bag-in-Box Wine Film Packaging


#6 Sonoco’s TruVue See-Through Plastic Can

TruVue, a see-through can being developed by Sonoco using its patented FUSION Freshlock Technology also features a multi-layer plastic wall with an easy-open metal top and a metal bottom.

The can’s five-layer wall includes PP (PolyPropylene) on the inside and outside of the can with two layers of adhesive to bond the PP to a center EVOH layer that acts as an oxygen barrier. Sonoco in a pipe like manufacturing process is extruding the can wall. Then the open can top and bottom has metal ends crimped onto them, followed by an induction heat sealing finishing step.

Standard full retorting than takes place with reduced cycle times and uniform through food product heating performance.

Sonoco's TruVue See-Through Plastic Can
Sonoco’s TruVue See-Through Plastic Can

#7 HRSflow Hot-Runner Solutions

Commercially viable thin-wall plastic structures must be easy to process and respect required performance properties such as barrier attributes.

High performance can be achieved thanks to HRSflow hot-runner solutions! They utilize a 3D printing steel process that delivers optimized cooling channels with reduced cycle time.

It is a highly wear resistant system and lends itself easily to multicavity molds for high volume molding of single serve coffee capsules with thin walls where maintaining extremely uniform barrier properties is critical.

HRSflow Hot-runner Solutions
HRSflow’s 3D Printing of Conformal Mold Cooling Channels (L); Single-Serve Coffee Capsules (R)


#8. Bemis Odor Recognition Packaging

Organoleptics such as odor recognition can affect the consumer’s impression of freshness in vacuum-packaged meat products. A new technology from Bemis is intended to provide a solution to this problem. When combined with low oxygen transmission rate (OTR) films, vacuum packaging extends meat shelf life by reducing headspace oxygen. This in turn, decreases the growth rates of spoilage bacteria and minimizes the organoleptic effects of lipid oxidation. However, Bemis R&D claims that an unintended consequence of using low OTR packaging is the development of confinement odor.

Although this odor quickly dissipates once a package is opened; its detection by the consumer has a negative impact on acceptability. Confinement odor is a particularly vexing problem for the poultry industry.

In odor suppression Bemis technology uses potassium sorbate, an FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) compliant food ingredient. It is compounded into the food-contact layer of the packaging inside an oxygen barrier. The novel combination of potassium sorbate modification and low OTR packaging films results in slower bacteria growth rates as well as suppression of confinement odor. The new Bemis technology will help poultry processors estimate ‘sell-by’ dates with added precision and better corroborate consumers’ freshness expectations. Additionally, shelf life extension techniques like this help producers reduce food waste.

OCSiAl’s Graphene Nanotubes Improve Polyamides’ Quality for Automotive Sector

POLYPLASTIC has developed and introduced a number of nanocomposite polymer materials using OCSiAl’s TUBALL™ graphene nanotubes. One of its latest developments is a nanomodified glass-filled polyamide 6.6 known under the trade name Armamid. Introducing as little as 0.15 wt.% of TUBALL™ MATRIX 826 (a concentrate of graphene nanotubes) into polyamide results in the insulation resistivity of 106 to 108 Ω cm required by the industry standards, while the strength properties of the material are retained.

Nanomodification of Polyamides

Nanotubes in polyamide drastically changes the properties, including making it electrically conductive, which allows manufacturers to use it on a standard line for painting plastic parts. This significantly reduces the cost of production, making it more efficient and environmentally friendly. Unlike previously used technological methods, the nanomodification of polyamide ensures a constant resistivity level and does not have an adverse effect on the material’s durability.

The production of car exterior parts made of fiberglass-filled Armamid with graphene nanotubes is an innovative solution for the automotive industry.

Nanotube-modified Materials for the Future

Technologies for introducing graphene nanotubes into various polymers including polyethylene, polypropylene, and ABS plastic are also being developed. Another current area of development is nanomodification of polypropylene for reduced-weight electric vehicle components.

The impressive results we already see today confirm that the future of many industries may be associated with nanotube-modified materials, and R&P POLYPLASTIC has the necessary research and production potential to achieve that”, says Mikhail Katsevman, R&D director at POLYPLASTIC.

New Bioplastic Material for Bags

BGUSA, INC announced today that they have solved the much-disputed argument of ridding the Earth of single-use plastic bags. All-natural food waste ingredients and organic starches are the derivatives of these bags. No added chemicals altar the composition of these bags.

Covestro Launches Bio Polycarbonate Film

Now more than ever before, OEMs and designers are looking for sustainable alternatives to the traditional materials used in their applications. Recognizing that sustainable thinking and action are key to a brighter future, we’re expanding our materials portfolio with a novel polycarbonate film.

Sustainable innovation: the benefits of partly bio-based Makrofol® EC

As part of our long-term commitment to the circular economy, we’re bringing sustainability and innovation together with the launch of our first partly bio-based polycarbonate film: Makrofol® EC.

More than 50% of this material’s carbon content is sourced from plant-based biomass.

When compared to standard films made from petrochemicals, a portion of the oil-based primary products used have been replaced with plant-based raw materials.

First Plastic to Kill Corona Virus

symphony environmental








Reducing the use of raw materials based on fossil resources slashes the film’s carbon footprint by approximately 20%.

With Makrofol® EC polycarbonate film,  our customers can benefit from a more sustainable alternative to standard polycarbonate films that exhibits comparable or even better properties, including improved chemical and weather resistance.

This partly bio-based film also offers excellent mechanical properties and impact strength, high abrasion resistance and surface hardness, and good optical properties.

Banana Republic, Why Turn Plastic into CO2 and Plastic Waste from Ships


Makrofol® EC polycarbonate films can be processed by a variety of technologies, including printing, thermoforming, high-pressure forming (HPF), coating (hardcoat, adhesive), cutting and lamination.

Polycarbonate film in action

Similar to conventional polycarbonate films, Makrofol® EC polycarbonate film can be used a variety of applications spanning several industries, including:

  • Automotive: Speedometers, decorative trim parts and instrument clusters
  • Electrical, electronics & appliances: Electrical insulation, electronic housing and decorative control panels
  • Graphics: Labels, tags, overlays and signage
  • Packaging: Thermoformed packaging for sensitive goods

More and more customers are supporting sustainable products. This is why research on bio-based products is an important priority for us.

Wieland Hovestadt Head of Research and Development in the Specialty Films division, Covestro

Key benefits

  • High strength Features excellent mechanical properties and impact strength
  • Excellent weather and chemical resistance Offers improved resistance to UV rays and chemicals
  • High durability Provides high abrasion resistance and surface hardness

Procter and Gamble Goes Carbon Neutral

Reducing GHG Emissions by 50% and Purchasing 100% Renewable Electricity for all Manufacturing Sites by 2030 and Advancing Natural Climate Solutions that Deliver a Carbon Benefit Equal to Remaining GHG Emissions from Operations.

The Procter & Gamble Company announced a new commitment to have its global operations be carbon neutral for the decade through a series of interventions that protect, improve and restore nature.

Recognizing the next decade represents a critical window for the world to accelerate progress on climate change, P&G will go beyond its existing Science Based Target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by additionally advancing a portfolio of natural climate solutions.

These efforts will deliver a carbon benefit that balances any remaining emissions over the next 10 years, allowing P&G operations to be carbon neutral for the decade.

Based on current estimates, the Company will need to balance ~30 million metric tons of carbon from 2020 to 2030.

P&G’s priority continues to be reducing emissions. P&G has an existing goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and purchasing 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and is on track to deliver on its 2030 commitments.

In addition, P&G will continue pursuing new wind, solar and geothermal projects to further accelerate the transition to renewables.

These efforts are aligned with what climate science says is needed to help ensure the Company does its part to limit global temperature increase and will continue well beyond 2030.

However, based on today’s technologies, there are some emissions that cannot be eliminated by 2030. By investing in natural climate solutions, the Company will accelerate its impact over the next 10 years.

A Critical Window

Recent reports have highlighted that the world is falling short of the greenhouse gas emission reductions needed and that the next decade represents a critical window to reduce emissions and be on a path to limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C.

That task will get much harder if society doesn’t start curbing emissions before the decade ends. By 2050, carbon emissions must fall to zero, or close to it.

​Failure to act now will put future generations at greater risk from climate change impacts and make achieving the global targets of the Paris Accord more difficult.

“Climate change is happening, and action is needed now,” said David Taylor, P&G Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “By reducing our carbon footprint and investing in natural climate solutions, we will be carbon neutral for the decade across our operations and help protect vulnerable ecosystems and communities around the world.”

Natural Climate Solutions: “Nature alone can solve up to one-third of climate change”

P&G will partner with Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to identify and fund a range of projects designed to protect, improve and restore critical ecosystems like forests, wetlands, grasslands and peatlands.

In addition to sequestering more carbon, an important aspect of natural climate solutions is the potential to deliver meaningful environmental and socioeconomic co-benefits that serve to protect and enhance nature and improve the livelihoods of local communities.

As P&G moves forward, the company will seek to identify, measure and communicate relevant co-benefits from its investment in nature.

P&G is developing a detailed project portfolio and investing in projects across the globe. Projects already identified include:

  • Philippines Palawan Protection Project with Conservation International – To protect, improve and restore Palawan’s mangroves and critical ecosystems. Palawan is the world’s fourth most “irreplaceable” area for unique and threatened wildlife.
  • Atlantic Forest Restoration Planning with WWF – In the Atlantic Forest on Brazil’s east coast, laying the groundwork for forest landscape restoration with meaningful impacts on biodiversity, water, food security and other co-benefits for local communities.
  • Evergreen Alliance with Arbor Day Foundation – Bringing corporations, communities and citizens together to take critical action to preserve the necessities of life affected by climate change—including planting trees to restore areas devastated by wildfires in Northern California and enhance forests in Germany.

“Nature must be a key part of any strategy to combat the climate crisis,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International. “Research shows that we cannot meet our climate goals unless we protect, restore and improve the management of carbon-rich ecosystems. Done right, these efforts can deliver a third of the emissions reductions needed within the next decade, and importantly, support the livelihoods of communities on the front lines of climate change. We’re delighted to be working with Procter & Gamble to protect nature – an investment that is a win for people and our planet.”

“We’ve worked with P&G to drive climate progress and safeguard forests for over a decade, because the scope of their business means they can deliver results at a scale that matters,” said Carter Roberts, U.S. President and CEO of WWF. “Importantly, that progress hasn’t been limited to their own corporate footprint. P&G was an early partner in the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, which has helped expand corporate renewable energy procurements across the United States. Today’s announcement marks further progress by putting a greater focus on the role that preserving nature can play – not just in absorbing carbon emissions, but in providing the services and resources that sustain life on earth. We look forward to working with P&G to achieve these new commitments over the next decade.”

P&G Brands take the lead on carbon footprint reduction and climate positive habit changes

Committing to going beyond its Science Based Target for reducing operational emissions is important, but the Company will not stop there.

For more than two decades, P&G has been committed to harnessing the scientific rigor of the Life Cycle Assessment of its products to better understand the emissions from its supply chain and consumer use of its products (Scope 3 emissions).

Up to 85% of P&G’s Scope 3 emissions are from consumer use of its products. P&G reaches five billion people through its brands, and with this scale comes a responsibility to give consumers the power to reduce their own carbon footprints with products that are designed to help save energy, water and natural resources.

  • More than 60% of a laundry detergent’s footprint is in the consumer use phase, mostly related to the energy used to heat the water. Ariel and Tide have been optimizing detergent formulas for high efficiency in low temperature washing and inspiring positive “Turn to 30” and “Cold Water Wash” laundry behaviors. The goal is to have 70% of machine loads be low-energy cycle loads, and major progress has been achieved by educating consumers in the U.S. over the last ten years on the benefits of low-energy wash cycles. P&G estimates that since 2015, the avoided emissions from consumers increasing their use of low-energy laundry cycles have been roughly 15 million metric tons of CO2, which is equivalent to taking three million cars off the road.
  • Busting a popular myth, Cascade is showing consumers how the dishwasher is designed to be more water and energy efficient than washing in the sink. Cascade and Fairy Automatic Dish Washing Tablets allow consumers to skip pre-wash and save water and the energy needed to heat the water. Fairy and Dawn Dish Washing Liquid’s grease cutting power enables water and energy savings: by reducing the water temperature 20°C (36°F), consumers can save up to 50% CO2 of the total footprint every wash.

“Our role as leaders is to make a lower emission economy and lifestyle possible, affordable and desirable for everyone,” said Virginie Helias, P&G’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “It is our responsibility to protect critical carbon reserves and invest in solutions that regenerate our planet. Consumers also want to do more to address climate change. As a company, we touch five billion people with our brands; we are striving to make a difference every day by encouraging responsible consumption with products that are effective and intuitive to enable adoption of new lower emission habits.”

Oimo Creates Starch Based Water-Soluble Packaging for Food, Drinks and Cosmetics

Spanish startup Oimo is set to revolutionise the packaging industry with a biodegradable and water-soluble material with the same properties as traditional plastic.

The material is created from algae, natural sugars and vegetable oils and is non- toxic to marine life. Currently, Oimo is focusing on adapting it for the production of disposable packaging in the food sector, beverage canholder’s and cosmetic packaging.

Oimo has received a grant of 75,000 euros from ACCIÓ from the Startup Capital line funded by the Generalitat of Catalunya, The grant is aimed at promising new technology companies.

The startup is now based in Spain but is a spin-off from Brunel University London and was founded in 2019. It has already applied for a patent for this material and will begin marketing it next year.

Friday 10 July 2020 — The Spanish startup Oimo has created a sustainable material similar to plastic from algae extracts, natural sugars and vegetable oils that is non-toxic for marine life. It is a project based on the circular economy that allows the production of a biodegradable material in a marine environment, from natural sources and with the same properties of many types of traditional plastic minus the negative effects on the environment. The company has already applied for a patent for this material, designed to produce disposable packaging for the food sector, canholders for beverage cans and cosmetic packaging.

Oimo is one of the companies that benefited from the Startup Capital grant from ACCIÓ, the agency for company’s competitiveness in the Department of Business and Knowledge.

According to the CEO of Oimo, Albert Marfà, “until recently people did not realize the great impact that plastic generates for our planet, but now all companies are aware of the need to reduce it and the legislation also works in this regard, because every year more than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the sea ”. “We have developed a type of sustainable packaging that weighs little

and is easy to work with to achieve the necessary flexibility or rigidity according to the needs of the different possible applications,” says Marfà.

For the company’s CEO, “it is more relevant than ever to work from the circular economy, considering the exponential increase in single-use plastics during the health crisis caused by covid-19.” The biomaterial “is biodegradable both on land and in salt or fresh water and is non-toxic to marine life, often a victim of waste that cannot be recycled,” says Marfà.

The emerging company does not manufacture final products, but formulates and designs this new biodegradable raw material that can be adapted to all types of applications and that can be used in the machinery to work the plastic that is currently used. To achieve this material, the company heats the natural molecules present in the algae extracts or vegetable oils to produce a chemical reaction that allows them to obtain a series of molecular chains that adhere to create this bioplastic. Among the uses of the biomaterial developed by Oimo are disposable food containers, canholders for beverage cans or packaging for the cosmetics sector. The startup also offers consulting services to end companies that want to understand how they can adapt the products they used to make with traditional plastic and thus contribute to “promoting sustainable innovation in the packaging sector,” explains Marfà.

Oimo, founded in early 2019 and based in Barcelona, ​​plans to bring the new material to market with clients (manufacturers of plastic products or end customers, for example, in the food or cosmetics industry) in 2021.

The startup currently has a team of four people, a team that includes engineers, chemists, business development experts, as well as external collaborators and consultants.

New Pyrolysis Plant in Virginia

Company to invest $31.7 million to establish first-of-its-kind waste plastics facility and manufacturing operation.

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Braven Environmental, a leader in deriving fuel from landfill-bound plastic, will invest $31.7 million to establish a manufacturing operation in Cumberland County’s shell building. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina and South Carolina for the project, which will create 52 new jobs. This is the first economic development announcement for Cumberland County since 2009.

“Braven Environmental will bring well-paid job opportunities to the citizens of Cumberland County while lessening our overall environmental footprint in the years to come,” said Governor Northam. “Providing the business environment and infrastructure to attract operations of this kind to rural Virginia is critical to our efforts to generate economic growth in all corners of the Commonwealth. Our economy is hurting right now, and these new jobs will have a great impact in the region.”

Braven Environmental uses the science of pyrolysis, not incineration, to break down waste plastics with minimal emissions. The output can be used to create new plastics or as fuel produced with much lower carbon emissions than traditional oil or gas production. Braven Environmental’s new plant will stop waste plastics from entering landfills, oceans, and waterways, while also reducing Virginia’s greenhouse gas emissions by ending the impact of long distance transportation used in current waste plastic solutions. Braven Environmental is committed to hiring locally and providing good jobs in the Cumberland County community. The company plans to create a total of over 80 new jobs within 18 months of the first phase of this project.

“Job creation announcements are especially important as we work to repair the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Braven Environmental’s decision to establish its new fuel manufacturing operation in Cumberland County is an exciting win for the Commonwealth, and it underscores the competitive advantages available to industry-leading companies in the Southside Virginia. We welcome Braven to the Commonwealth, and we look forward to working together to ensure Virginia is proactively reducing its carbon footprint.”

“Braven’s decision to develop its next site in Virginia as part of its planned U.S. expansions was driven by the state’s pro-business and innovation economy, and the fact that Virginia sees an enormous amount of waste that is either transported long distance for processing or ends up in local landfills,” said Nick Canosa, President and CEO of Braven Environmental. “With this facility, we’re looking forward to working hand-in-hand with Cumberland County to address the existing plastic waste issue with proven technology, while bringing long-term jobs to the community.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Cumberland County and Virginia’s Growth Alliance to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $150,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Cumberland County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $65,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project, and funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“Cumberland County’s Board of Supervisors is proud to welcome Braven Environmental to the County,” said Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors Brian Stanley. “Through the diligent work of our Economic Development Authority, opportunity and prosperity has been delivered.”

“Braven’s investment and development of technology to transform a global problem into a clean fuel solution is revolutionary,” said Chairman of the Cumberland County Economic Development Authority Fred Shumaker. “This type of forward thinking not only reduces the use of traditional fuels, therefore lowering the state’s carbon footprint, but also reduces the volume of waste in the environment. This is a great win for Virginia and her environment, but specifically for Cumberland County.”

“Braven Environmental’s investment is a gamechanger for Cumberland County and these new jobs will change lives in Southside Virginia,” said Congressman Denver Riggleman. “I am very excited about this announcement and the potential of the project. Braven brings an innovative technology project that will increase prosperity in Cumberland and reduce carbon emissions in Virginia.”

“This reaffirms that Virginia’s current policies toward business and growth are attractive to commercial interests,” said Senator Mark Peake. “Beyond the much-needed jobs that Braven Environmental will provide, the total impact on Cumberland is almost unimaginable. I am very excited about how this project will bolster local government, generate growth in area businesses, and offer new educational opportunities in Cumberland County Public Schools. I welcome Braven Environmental and offer my support in my capacity in the Senate of Virginia.”

“We are always looking for innovative businesses to join our community here in Cumberland County and Southern Virginia, and Braven Environmental is exactly that,” said Delegate Thomas Wright. “I am pleased that Virginia was able to successfully compete against other states for this project, and I believe that our strong business climate and more-than-capable workforce will play a strong role in the success of this new venture.”

Americans Start Ocean Clean Up

Ocean Voyages Institute’s marine plastic recovery vessel, S/V KWAI, docked at the port of Honolulu today, after a 48-day expedition, successfully removing 103 tons (206,000 lbs.) of fishing nets and consumer plastics from the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone, more commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Gyre.

Establishing its lead in open ocean clean-up, Ocean Voyages Institute has set a new record with the largest at sea clean-up in the Gyre to date, more than doubling its own results from last year.

“I am so proud of our hard working crew,” says Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of Ocean Voyages Institute. “We exceeded our goal of capturing 100 tons of toxic consumer plastics and derelict ‘ghost’ nets, and in these challenging times, we are continuing to help restore the health of our ocean, which influences our own health and the health of the planet.”

Crowley adds: “The oceans can’t wait for these nets and debris to break down into microplastics which impair the ocean’s ability to store carbon and toxify the fragile ocean food web.”

Known as the “Ghost Net Buster,” Crowley is renowned for developing effective methods to remove significant amounts of plastics out of the ocean, including 48 tons (96,000 lbs.) of toxic plastics during two ocean clean-ups in 2019, one from the Gyre and one from the waters surrounding the Hawaiian islands.

“There is no cure-all solution to ocean clean-up: It is the long days at sea, with dedicated crew scanning the horizon, grappling nets, and retrieving huge amounts of trash, that makes it happen,” says Locky MacLean, a former director at Sea Shepherd and ocean campaigner in marine conservation for two decades.

The GPS satellite trackers used by Ocean Voyages Institute since 2018 are proving Crowley’s theory that one tracker can lead to many nets. The ocean frequently sorts debris so that a tagged fishing net can lead to other nets and a density of debris within a 15 mile radius.

The Pacific Gyre, located halfway between Hawaii and California, is the largest area with the most plastic, of the five major open ocean plastic accumulation regions, or Gyres, in the world’s oceans.

“We are utilizing proven nautical equipment to effectively clean-up the oceans while innovating with new technologies,” says Crowley. “Ocean Voyages Institute has been a leader in researching and accomplishing ocean clean-up for over a decade, granted with less fanfare and attention than others, but with passion and commitment and making meaningful impacts.”

Ocean Voyages Institute will be unloading the record-breaking haul of ocean plastic debris while docked alongside Pier 29 thanks to the support of Honolulu-based Matson, in preparation for upcycling and proper disposal.

“In keeping with our commitment to environmental stewardship, Matson has been searching for a way to get involved in cleaning up the Pacific Gyre,” said Matt Cox, chairman and CEO. “We’ve been impressed with the groundbreaking efforts of Ocean Voyages Institute and the progress they’ve made with such a small organization, and we hope our support will help them continue this important work.”

An Expanded 2020 Expedition

When the sailing cargo ship, S/V KWAI, arrived in Honolulu today, it completed a 48-day at sea clean-up mission that began at the Hawaiian port of Hilo on May 4, after a three week self- imposed quarantine period to ensure the health of crew members and safety of the mission, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the expedition, the KWAI’s multinational crew collected marine plastic pollution with the help of GPS satellite trackers that Ocean Voyages Institute designed with engineer Andy Sybrandy, of Pacific Gyre, Inc. These beacons are placed on nets by volunteer yachts and ships. Drones, as well as lookouts up the mast, enable the ship’s crew to hone in on the debris. They then recover the litter, place it in industrial bags, and store it in the ship’s cargo hold for proper recycling and repurposing at the end of the voyage.

S/V KWAI, led by Captain Brad Ives, and Ocean Voyages Institute are planning a second voyage to the Gyre departing the end of June to continue clean-up of this area, which is so besieged by toxic debris. The length of a second summer leg will be determined by how successful Ocean Voyages Institute is in securing additional donations.

“Our solutions are scalable, and next year, we could have three vessels operating in the North Pacific Gyre for three months all bringing in large cargos of debris,” says Crowley. “We are aiming to expand to other parts of the world desperately needing efficient clean-up technologies.”

Crowley adds: “There is no doubt in my mind that our work is making the oceans healthier for the planet and safer for marine wildlife, as these nets will never again entangle or harm a whale, dolphin, turtle or reefs.”