Click here to watch Ranking Member Capito’s questions.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, questioned witnesses, including West Virginia University’s (WVU) Director of Constructed Facilities Center Hota GangaRao, at a subcommittee hearing titled, “Petrochemicals to Waste: Examining the Lifecycle Environmental and Climate Effects of Plastic.”


WELCOMING WVU’S DR. HOTA GANGARAO: “Thank you all for being here…Dr. GangaRao, nice to see you. And I'm very proud of the work that you're doing as the West Virginia University, the innovation, the inspiration that you are I got to visit your lab and see your bridge materials and all the things that you're doing. So I'm really pleased that you're here to be a part of this, this really esteemed panel of academics that really haven't been here.”



“Most people are unaware that plastic polymers and resins are essential to innovative composite materials and their use of technologies, not just roads and bridges, but electric cars and windmills and everything. So what kind of role do polymers play in the composition of the composite materials that you're working with?”


“As I indicated earlier, the United States produces about 120 billion pounds of composite. So they have the presence of which about 20 to 25 billion pounds is going into composites. And this industry is approximately $100 to $150 billion. The most important thing I want to highlight here today is the fact that we are dealing with lightweight materials that are going to be lasting much longer than conventional materials. And they once we move towards natural fibers, natural resin based composite, we are going to absorb the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through the agricultural operations and still maintain this high quality of a composite product…This is not well understood. When people speak about composites. They talk about it from a negative standpoint, based on the conventional wisdom no doubt about it. However, we want to bring a slightly different perspective, where we can bridge this gap between the rural and the urban areas by generating a much higher volumes of natural fibers and other kinds of synthetic fibers and also natural resins.”



“So basically what you're telling me here, at least the way I'm hearing and I've seen in your lab, and again, thank you for hosting me, is that there is a market for reuse and recycling plastics within the composites…industry or development of those materials, which could and would I think lead to a be a solution to where we are. And then you mentioned composite materials lasts longer or lighter weight and they also in the end with more natural materials will absorb more and have more carbon sequestration. Those sound like a winning formula as we move forward with the innovation that you're doing and inspiring that next generation students to do as well. So thank you very much. Would you agree with that statement?”


“Yes, certainly. That's correct. I totally agree with that.”

Click HERE to watch Ranking Member Capito’s questions.

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