Researcher's work in bioplastics leads to $1.4 million contract

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Dr. Jian Yu, (808) 956-5873
Researcher, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute
Rachel Orange, (808) 956-2329
Outreach Specialist, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute
Posted: Sep 10, 2015

Dr. Jian Yu
Dr. Jian Yu

Thanks to the efforts of a Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute researcher, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has signed an exclusive global research contract with Bio-On, an Italian intellectual property company, representing a $1.4 million investment.   

Dr. Jian Yu’s research focuses on new technologies to produce bioplastics from inexpensive feedstocks such as wood chips, agricultural residues and domestic wastes. The bioplastics can be molded and shaped like oil-based plastics, but are completely degraded into benign products (carbon dioxide and water) in the environment.  The research will also make the bioplastics more ductile for broader applications such as films and fibers.

For that purpose, Bio-On has invested $1.6 million over the past seven years into the research, and will invest the additional $1.4 million to continue Dr. Yu’s research.  UH has given the company exclusive global license of two patents for production of bioplastics from domestic waste. 

“I am glad to have this new research support from Bio-On, which is based on successful cooperation in multiple projects over the past seven years,” said Dr. Yu.  “The new project shall promote our research on environmentally friendly bioplastics for a sustainable society.”

The Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), a research unit of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, conducts research of state and national importance to develop, test and evaluate novel renewable energy technologies. The Institute leverages its in-house work with public-private partnerships to demonstrate real-world operations and enable integration of emerging technologies into the energy mix. Founded in 1974, HNEI was established in statute in 2007 to address critical State energy needs.

For more information, see