Company initiatives

Metabolix updates

As I’ve said I’m cleaning my draft box in preparation for next year. Here are several announcements that came from US bioplastic producer Metabolix this December.

The company said its Mvera B5008, a new certified-compostable film grade resin, is now available for shipment to customers. Compounded in Europe for local markets and widely available for global customers, Mvera B5008 is designed for applications including compost bags, can liners used for organic waste, as well as shopping and retail bags that can be reused as compostable organic waste bags.

Metabolix is also now shipping its I6001, a biobased polymeric modifier for PVC (polyvinyl chloride) formulations based on Metabolix PHA resin. The I6001 is designed as a performance additive to improve the mechanical and environmental performance characteristics of PVC. The company noted PVC market demand is estimated at 35m tonnes/year.

I6001 also may serve as a PVC processing aid due to its excellent miscibility and shear melting with PVC. Additional benefits of I6001 include plasticization, low modifier volatization and low extractables. I6001 is 85 percent biobased and is now available commercially.

Metabolix said it is developing a series of second generation products in the modifier space which the Company plans to launch in 2013 in conjunction with the planned start-up of its 10,000 tonnes/year PHA biopolymer manufacturing in Spain.

Like Cereplast, Metabolix seems to be focusing a lot of its business in Europe as it partners with Italy and Switzerland-based packaging solutions supplier Kenmare Srl to distribute to its customers Metabolix’s Mvera B5008 starting in 2013.

“With growing concern about single-use bags and the emergence of plastic bag regulations requiring either reusable or certified compostable alternatives, it has become increasingly important for bag suppliers and retail stores to offer more sustainable product options,” said Francesco Tognato, director, at Kenmare. “We have been pleased with Metabolix products and are honored to offer Mvera B5008 to our customer base as an excellent alternative raw material for compostable bag production. We look forward to expanding our business with Metabolix next year as they ramp up their production in Europe.”

Last news (but certainly not the least), Metabolix said it has secured a grant under the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to work with the UCLA Engineering to redesign carbon fixation pathways to increase the efficiency of capturing energy from sunlight into the crop plant camelina.

Metabolix will work with UCLA Engineering to investigate alternative biochemical pathway that theoretically could allow a plant to capture twice as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into higher energy molecules such as sugars with the end goal of improving the productivity of both food and fuel crops.

The company said this ist he third crops science grant awarded to Metabolix in 2012 totalling $1m, which will run through 2014.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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