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Netravali named greenest inventor by regional group

Cornell fiber scientist Anil Netravali won first place in the inventor/entrepreneur category of the first "Green of the Crop" contest, which honors innovative solutions for environmental issues by people, businesses, schools and community organizations in 12 counties across central New York.

New York's Creative Core, a public-private partnership to support creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and recreation in the region, launched the contest to mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day April 22. It attracted more than 85 nominees, with first-place winners in four categories.

Netravali, professor in the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design, stood out for his development of biodegradable soy-based composites that will not harm the environment or human health when they are discarded, such as a replacement for particleboard, which contains formaldehyde-tinged resins. In 2006, Netravali co-founded e2e Materials, a clean technology company that creates earth-friendly material composites from plant fibers and resins for use in sustainable building and other commercial products.

"I was pleasantly surprised to receive the award, since there is significant sustainability-related research in this region and public awareness about environmental issues and global warming is very high," Netravali said. "It's a wonderful recognition of my group's research efforts and also for Cornell and the College of Human Ecology, both of which are quite engaged in sustainability."

e2e Materials donated the materials for the award plaques. Netravali, however, was nominated by an independent third party, and judges weren't aware of the prize donation.

Ted Boscia is assistant director of communications for the College of Human Ecology.

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John Carberry