Troy University’s Center for Materials and Manufacturing Sciences in Alabama and the National Hemp Growers Cooperative (NHGC), a Mississippi-based hemp organization, have partnered to research and develop using hemp fibers in biodegradable plastics.

The partnership will help NHGC create more market opportunities for its members, as well as open the door for the university to develop similar partnerships in the future.

“The use of bio-based plastics is full of potential, in particular for the U.S. automotive industry. Industrial hemp is already proven to be an excellent source for bio-based plastics, but we need to create even more uses by blending with recyclable plastics,” Nick Walters, NHGC managing partner, said in a press release.

Walter also expressed that the cooperative is excited to develop a long-lasting relationship with the university, as it works “to create more market opportunities for [its] grower-members while developing biodegradable plastics.”

Steven Taylor, Ph.D., dean of Troy University’s College of Arts and Sciences, also expressed his excitement for the partnership, stating that it helps the Center for Materials and Manufacturing Science achieve its ultimate goal: “to offer solutions to real-world problems.”

“It’s not so much about what the NHGC leadership needs; it’s what their members might need. Their goal is to try to help the farmers grow the product and have a market for the product; therefore, they need products to make,” Taylor said. “This also gives us the possibility of multiple partners, a place to start and branch out from. It’s the first step toward the center having real connectivity outside of the university and may give us synergy beyond what projects we alone can generate.”