8 November 2011

Northern Technologies International Corporation Awarded $500,000 in NSF-STTR Grant for Development of Advanced Polylactide (PLA) Materials

Phase II funding will allow NTIC to commercialize a broad portfolio of next-generation, high performance biobased resin compounds

Northern Technologies International Corporation (Nasdaq:NTIC) announced that it has been awarded a National Science Foundation Small Business Technology Transfer (NSF-STTR) Phase II grant of $500,000 for the development of Advanced Polylactide (PLA) materials for biobased and biodegradable plastic products.

This award is a continuation of the successful NSF-STTR Phase I project on the same topic, and will help NTIC develop and commercialize chemically modified biobased and biodegradable PLA-based compounds, to generate a new class of materials that are not only high strength, lightweight, and multifunctional but also an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to petroleum based polymers. The research and technology development will be conducted in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU) in Lansing, Michigan.

NTIC, through its Natur-Tec® business unit, has already commercialized a portfolio of first-generation reactive blended biobased resin compounds for extrusion, molding and coating applications. In Phase I of the NSF-STTR project, NTIC successfully developed novel compatibilization chemistries to create advanced PLA-based materials that offer improved processing capabilities and higher performance properties. Phase II funding will now allow NTIC to build upon the success of the Phase I trials, and commercialize a broad portfolio of next-generation, high performance biobased resin compounds that are tailored to complex applications in food and consumer goods packaging.

Prof. Ramani Narayan, University Distinguished Professor at MSU, was involved with the initial research and development of PLA technology with Cargill Inc. and will continue to collaborate with NTIC on this project. Prof. Narayan stated, “MSU and NTIC have worked together in the past to successfully commercialize biodegradable and biobased products. This NSF project will reinforce stronger ties among the two organizations and serve as a classic example of university-industry symbiosis.”

Vineet Dalal, Vice President and Director of Global Market Development for NTIC’s Natur-Tec Business Unit, said, “NTIC is pleased to have been recognized by the National Science Foundation Small Business Technology Transfer Program with the award of this Phase II grant. This is further validation of NTIC’s technology development roadmap in the bioplastics area, and the NSF-STTR funding will accelerate our efforts to commercialize the new technology developed jointly with MSU, and bring to market the next generation of high-performance biobased resins.”

About Northern Technologies International Corporation
Northern Technologies International Corporation develops and markets proprietary environmentally beneficial products and technical services either directly or via a network of joint ventures and independent distributors in over 55 countries. NTIC’s Natur-Tec branded products are engineered using a proprietary and patented blend of biodegradable polymers and natural materials to create biobased (renewable resource based) and biodegradable plastics. These products do not contain any conventional plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene or polystyrene. The broad Natur-Tec bioplastics portfolio spans flexible film, foam, rigid injection molded materials and engineered plastics. By using Natur-Tec products as an alternative to conventional plastics, industry and consumers are able to better manage their carbon usage and move towards a zero carbon or carbon neutral footprint.

Contact
Matt Wolsfeld
phone: (763) 225-6600
email: mwolsfeld@ntic.com

Source: Northern Technologies International Corporation (NTIC), press release, 2011-11-08.

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