Iowa State University plans to start offering courses to teach students how to make new products out of plants. Professor Robert Brown says “biobased” products are growing in importance, and I-S-U wants students to be ready. He says it’s more of a future need as the technology is still being developed.Brown, who is a chemical and mechanical engineering professor, says there are several components to the new program.He says part of it is educational on how to develop the products, another is research, and a third is working with industry to develop these products. Brown says the program is a combination of engineering, chemistry, agriculture and other sciences.While biobased products are relatively new, Brown says the concept isn’t. He says the movement toward biobased products first began in the 1920s.He says work toward plant-based products stopped after petroleum-based products turned out to be cheaper and easy to process. Brown says they’ll start the program this fall with one course and gradually build it up. I-S-U received a one million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to get the program running.
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