e2e Materials is working to provide a new environmentally sustainable model for manufacturing and boost the Upstate New York agricultural economy in the process. The company uses an exclusive technology that converts agricultural waste and byproducts into a completely bio-based composite that can be used to manufacture products from skateboard decks and automobile trunk liners to kitchen cabinetry and office furniture. This innovative biocomposite is a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to wood, petroleum-based plastics, and composites such as MDF and particleboard. Unique engineering capabilities allow the material to be processed into complex shapes, with a higher strength-to-weight ratio approaching mid-weight steel. In addition, the material is 100 percent formaldehyde-free, biodegradable, and naturally fire resistant.
The company’s proprietary biocomposites are made from soy flour and natural grass fibers such as jute and flax—crops grown everywhere in America—and require much less energy to manufacture than wood composites. The company is working with the USDA to source the grass fiber used in the biomass material regionally in Upstate New York. By using a “Regionally Integrated Manufacturing ” model designed to create economic impact within a 500-mile radius, each new manufacturing job should result in five new agricultural jobs in the region. A new manufacturing facility in Geneva, New York, is expected to employ 200 workers over the next five years.
e2e Materials began its relationship with SyracuseCoE by conducting necessary third-party testing to prove performance of the material in various applications and confirm there was no toxic off-gassing. SyracuseCoE strengthened its partnership with e2e by using its innovative material in its LEED®-Platinum headquarters building, including cabinetry for three kitchens, benches that line the hallways, and the security guard desk in the first-floor atrium.
“They saw the potential for our technology to contribute to a healthy and innovative built environment and gave us our first major purchase order,” says Clayton Poppe, vice president of engineering at e2e. “This milestone propelled us forward and has become a meaningful part of our history.”
The company won a competitively awarded SyracuseCoE Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP) award in 2010 to support its purchase of unique manufacturing equipment. SyracuseCoE gave additional support by co-exhibiting at several Greenbuild tradeshows, providing the fledgling company with exposure to potential customers.
In 2012, e2e Materials won four prestigious awards: a 2012 Best of NeoCon Gold Award, a Best of NeoCon 2012 Product Innovation Award, a 2012 ACE Award for Composites Sustainability, and a 2012 Buildings Magazine Award for Product Innovation. The company also achieved Biopreferred® status, becoming certified by the USDA as a 98-percent bio-based product. The USDA certifies and awards labels to qualifying products to increase consumer recognition of bio-based products and designates categories of bio-based products that are afforded preference by federal agencies when making purchasing decisions.
The fast-growing Ithaca-based company was launched in 2007, a spin off from technology developed during 15 years in a research lab at Cornell University. The ongoing relationship with SyracuseCoE continues to be productive and successful by helping e2e Materials develop and market its innovative building material.