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01. The Green Technology of e2e

Netravali and Govang

(l.) Anil Netravali, (r.) Patrick Govang

Amid concerns about growing landfills, global warming, and the political costs of oil dependence, visionary companies such as e2e offer manufacturers hope of a more sustainable future. e2e produces a new generation of fully bio-degradable “green” reinforced plastics, or composites, made from soy proteins and plant fibers, which do not depend on oil, are biodegradable, and will never languish in a landfill. The vision to found a company based on green technology originated with an invention by Anil N. Netravali, Fiber Science and Apparel Design. Patrick Govang at the Cornell Center for Materials Research recognized the invention’s potential and cultivated the idea into a business plan, earning e2e top honors at an annual regional business plan competition last September. Govang now runs the company, and Netravali serves as the chief scientific officer. Since its inception, e2e has earned over $260,000 in state grants to help commercialize the technology and is currently a finalist in the nationwide $100,000 Emerging Business Competition.

Future plans for e2e include establishing core competencies in eco-friendly product and technology development, supply chain development and management, process development, and low volume–high margin manufacturing. There are many market opportunities and swelling public demand for biodegradable materials for furniture, building materials, and automotive applications. Ultimately, such materials may replace plastics, wood, and steel. e2e is now commercializing a formaldehyde-free, cost-competitive alternative to particleboard. The elimination of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, is driving a transformation of the $6.3 billion particleboard market.

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