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Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology

Annual Report: October 2013

WIST Laboratory Services Growth and change were hallmarks of WIST laboratory services in the past year. “We’re continuing to see essentially a doubling of services, year on year,” said Paul Fowler, WIST executive director. Reflecting that rapid growth, WIST made a number of staff changes in laboratory services in the past year.

Currently WIST is part of a working group that is updating standards for the disintegration element of the compostability protocol, specifically the ASTM WK34454 Compostability Disintegration test method.

The institute hired a full-time director for laboratory services. John Baldus, who came on board in May, is focusing on cementing relationships with current customers and working to develop new markets and new services targeted to meet industry needs. Baldus brings a background in private industry sales as well as in marketing development for the Wisconsin State Energy Office. Also new this year is Chris Szymonski, the paper machine and allied laboratories specialist. Szymonski serves the needs of both WIST and the Paper Science & Engineering Department at UWStevens Point.

Paper testing and analysis equipment is shown in one of the UW-Stevens Point labs.

Casey Konopacky, formerly interim laboratory services specialist for WIST, was appointed laboratory project specialist, where he works on projects such as the development and marketing of RiverPoint fine art paper. You can read short bios on these and all of the WIST staff at the back of this report.

Compostability WIST introduced a new compostability testing service for the market in November 2012. The service is aimed at companies in the compostable packaging industry, to help them develop such materials for the market. Testing the materials according to established, thirdparty standards will provide information that companies can use in their marketing claims. That is becoming more important as consumers demand environmentally friendly materials. WIST tests compostability to ASTM D6400 or D6868 standards. The testing protocol comprises a disintegration trial, seed germination trial and biodegradability trial. “We are one of only a handful of laboratories nationwide offering compostabil12

ity testing, and with our track record of providing timely, high-quality laboratory services and competitive pricing, this new service has great potential for WIST,” Fowler said. Already WIST has performed the test method on coated paper for a client and is in discussions with several companies for trials.

Dan Neckar, left, shoots digital video as Rob Michitsch, UW-Stevens Point assistant professor of soil and waste resources, describes the compostability testing protocol. Michitsch helped develop the protocol. WIST's compostability video is on YouTube at http://bit.ly/17It5RK

WIST created a short video to explain its compostability testing service and made the video available on YouTube; the link is http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Gs44i8ch-FU

Services for the paper industry Testing and analysis for the paper industry continues to form the core of WIST laboratory services. Pulp and bleaching trials: WIST performs pulping and bleaching on wood and non-wood biomass. One area of particular growth is in the pulping of nontraditional materials, including food processing byproducts and agricultural processing residual materials. Companies are exploring possibilities for unique products with sustainability attributes such as the re-use of waste materials. WIST has bench top equipment sized 50-360 grams and tank volume bleaching up to 100-liter volumes.

WIST laboratory personnel Justin Hall, above, and Casey Konopacky, left, prepare material for pulping trials with the institute's bench top equipment.

Specialty Paper: The UW-Stevens Point pilot paper machine, which WIST operates for developmental and small production runs, is an important asset. In the past year, the institute completed development of a fine art paper (see story on this unique university collaboration on page 6). WIST also made a specialty paper for a client, working with the client to create a paper that met specifications for a niche area. Baldus traveled to the client’s production plant along with other laboratory staff to Laboratory services continued next page

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Profile for Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology

Wistannualreportoct2013fec  

Sustainability in research, laboratory services and education; activities of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology

Wistannualreportoct2013fec  

Sustainability in research, laboratory services and education; activities of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology

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