CHICAGO, IL –American Science and Technology (AST) and The University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (UWSP) have been awarded approximately $2.8 million, as part of a $22.5 million initiative by the University of Wisconsin System institutions to support increased economic growth and a stronger Wisconsin workforce.
AST, in collaboration with Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) at UWSP, is operating a pilot plant in Wausau, WI that converts biomass into sugar, lignin, and organic solvent. The high quality of the lignin allows it to be mixed with other polymers to produce lower cost polymers, with the goal of developing new polymers from renewable resources that can eventually replace polymers derived from petroleum. AST will use the grant to scale up its current production capabilities, as well hire additional staff to help further optimize its technology.
"Our partnership with UWSP through programs like WIST are very important to our work at AST. The university provides us with invaluable research capabilities while AST is able to provide UWSP students with hand-on training with cutting-edge equipment and technologies." said AST President, Dr. Ali Manesh.
“We see this as an important strategy in more effectively aligning UW campus collaborations with economic and workforce development initiatives wherever they occur in the state,” said Regent Tim Higgins, chair of the Board of Regents’ Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee. “These efforts will provide direct benefit to businesses and communities statewide, and create new and expanded opportunities for our students and faculty.”
Regent Emeritus Jeffrey Bartell led the committee that selected 12 grants for funding from a total of 56 entries from UW institutions statewide.