Jian Yu

Jian Yu, a Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute researcher at 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.

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.

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 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 Yu. “The new project shall promote our research on environmentally friendly bioplastics for a sustainable society.”

The Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute, a research unit of UH Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, 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.