The federal government is investing $600,000 to study how to create a new type of stronger plastic from corn. Mike Stenzel, director of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, says it’s keeping in line with the effort to add value to the state’s top agricultural product.

Stenzel farms insouthwest Iowa’s Fremont County. He says the grant from the U-S Departmentof Energy will go toward research on adding corn-based polymers to plastics. Stenzel has set a goal for how much corn he’d like to eventually see pumped into the project. Stenzel envisions a type ofplastic that could be used in a variety of products — from the casings forink pens to water pipes to the shells around computer monitors. He says the new corn-based plastics would be more durable than the oil-based plastics. Stezel says the research will likely be conducted at Iowa State University.