A new ethanol co-product could replace more petroleum products such plastics, film and coatings.
POET has announced the new product, called “Inviz,” which the company says could be used to make a variety of petroleum-based ingredients in household products ranging from pill coatings to plastic packaging.
Inviz is POET’s brand of zein, a biodegradable, low-nutrient protein found in corn. It can be used as a gum base or in films, packaging, adhesives, coatings and glazes. Inviz zein is extracted using a patent-pending process developed by POET.
Inviz is derived from the less valuable protein in POET’s Dakota Gold HP® distiller’s grains. It differs from other zein products because POET’s production process fractionates the corn kernel and ferments ethanol without using heat. For that reason, Inviz is a more pure corn protein than other zein products, which are typically exposed to sulfur dioxide in the wet-milling process.
POET’s research into zein started in 2004 through collaboration with the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Ill. Those efforts ramped up considerably 2.5 years ago with the hiring of Senior Scientist John Lawton, a leader in zein research, from the NCAUR. Lawton was intrigued by the potential for zein in POET’s no-cook ethanol production.
“Inviz can be used to make biodegradable plastics, time-release capsules for pills and other substances, varnish, there are just so many possibilities,” Lawton said. “It has been the focus of much of my research throughout my career, and I’m excited to see this product brought to market.”