Open Innovation Challenges

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BIOTECH
Biotech

Processing Bio-Based Composite Films for Food Packaging

AWARD: $20,000
Food packaging films protect and extend product shelf life by controlling the atmospheric conditions within the packaging. There is considerable interest in developing sustainable films of bio-based polymers containing micron- or nano-sized, bio-based fillers for food packaging applications. There is a need for viable and commercial scale methods for the processing and conversion of bio-based composites. Of particular interest are methods that can overcome the problems associated with high viscosities and high filler loadings, while increasing material compatibility and reducing agglomeration.
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MATERIAL SCIENCE
Material Science

Flexible-to-Rigid Packaging

AWARD: $20,000
The materials used to produce flexible bags offer effective barrier properties at a low cost to producers. However, many products packaged in flexible films and bags are subject to strenuous transporting and handling, which can lead to damaged products. To mitigate broken or damaged food, bags are filled with air or other select gases. Desired food packaging technologies offer the convenience, cost and performance of flexible bag materials while providing more efficient packing densities, while preserving the product quality and integrity.
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ENGINEERING
Engineering

In-line Food Processing Sensors

AWARD: $20,000
Product quality is a critical part of the food industry. Current quality control measures are done manually and are tested off-line slowing the generation of necessary data to properly monitor the processes. Real-time quality and process controls with near-line or in-line measurement techniques are required to produce data rapid enough to positively affect food quality. In-line food processing sensors are needed for select points in the processing systems for potato chips, tortilla chips, extruded products, and carbonated beverages.
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