UA incubator client gets National Science Foundation grant

Posted: January 7, 2013 at 10:03 a.m.

— The National Science Foundation has awarded a $150,000 grant to CycleWood Solutions Inc., a University of Arkansas-affiliated company, the university announced Monday.

CycleWood Solutions Inc., a startup company that is a Genesis Technology Incubator client at the university in Fayetteville, is working to produce an environmentally friendly alternative to the polyethylene bags used in stores.

CycleWood Solutions President and Chief Executive Officer Nhiem Cao said the grant will allow the company to continue work on the XyloBag, a biodegradable prototype. The single-use bag, which will degrade in 150 days, blends lignin, an organic polymer that is most commonly derived from wood, with a biodegradable material, the university said.

The grant was awarded through the National Science Foundation's Small Business Innovation Research Program, which is designed to spur technological innovation in the private sector and increase the commercial application of federally backed research results, the university said.

"This moves us closer to our goal of displacing conventional plastics with sustainable alternatives," Cao said.

CycleWood Solutions co-founder Kevin Oden said CycleWood Solutions hopes to have the XyloBag prototype into production this year.

The university said Cao and Oden developed the idea of CycleWood Solutions two years ago with other students in a business class and founded the startup in 2011. Since then, Cao and Oden have earned investors through their work, including a $750,000 commitment in 2011 from Trailblazer Capital, a venture-capital investor.