Date Awarded: November 2021
Award Amount: $739,936
Focus Region: Southeastern Massachusetts
Project Partners: PrimaLoft, Radical Plastics, Paramount Planet Product, UMass Boston, UMass Lowell, the Marine Biological Laboratory, SeaAhead, U.S. Army Soldier Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center
This grant supports the development of a new research and development laboratory in New Bedford to study biodegradable and ocean-safe plastics, called the Plastics Biodegradation Laboratory at UMass Dartmouth. The facility will enable efficient testing of plastic biodegradation, helping address the significant waste caused by traditional plastics used in textiles, packaging, and other products that can accumulate in the ocean and other water resources.
The Commonwealth’s grant will be paired with $1 Million in match funding, including more than $450,000 from private industry partners and leading advanced materials companies. The launch of the new lab will advance UMass Dartmouth’s research in advanced materials and the Blue Economy and make needed testing capabilities available for Industry.
The main biodegradability lab will be housed at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) campus in New Bedford, a newly expanded state-of-the-art facility with classrooms, labs, and offices for faculty, staff, and students.
The Commonwealth’s capital investment will fund new lab equipment which will address material biodegradability and its environmental impact, specializing in the ocean impacts, and advancing the development of new, environmentally-sensitive products. In addition, investments on the main campus include auxiliary services in toxicology testing and microplastics assays. The lab will fill an important niche for businesses interested in the field, providing additional research capacity for the evaluation of plastic biodegradability.
For more information contact Dr. Steven Lohrenz, School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), email@example.com