The National Science Foundation has awarded a $150,000 grant to cycleWood Solutions Inc., a Genesis Technology Incubator client at the University of Arkansas that is working to produce a sustainable alternative to the high-density polyethylene bags currently used in stores. Nhiem Cao, president and chief executive officer of cycleWood Solutions, said the grant allows the start-up company to continue to develop a prototype for what it calls the XyloBag. The XyloBag will be biodegradable and compostable, which allows it to comply with regulations that are forcing retailers to switch from polyethylene bags. Polyethylene bags harm the environment by polluting the world’s oceans and sitting forever in landfills. They are also expensive to recycle. As a result, cities in 25 states have either banned or are considering banning the use of polyethylene bags. The single-use XyloBag blends lignin, an abundant organic polymer that is most commonly derived from wood, with a biodegradable material. The bag will degrade in 150 days, Cao said. The National Science Foundation Phase I grant came through the Small Business Innovation Research Program, which allows federal agencies to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening small businesses that meet federal research and development needs. The program is intended also to increase the commercial application of federally supported research results. Click here to read the full article from University of Arkansas Newswire.