While Metabolix seems to be quiet these days (and people are still waiting for any production updates from the company…), Meredian on the other hand, has been churning out several news recently, the latest one is its merger with sister company, DaniMer Scientific. The companies now have merged under a wholly-owned subsidiary Meredian Holdings Group Inc.
The Boards of the two companies believe the restructure will increase the size and market awareness of Meredian and DaniMer, which will make the combined enterprise more attractive and provide a natural vertical integration into their supply chain. Meredian is known as a producer of the biodegradable PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) bioplastic resins while DaniMer is more known for development, marketing and sales of renewable-based products.
Last year, DaniMer has partnered with Henkel on the development of hotmelt bio-based adhesives, and in 2012 it has partnered also with Myriant and DuPont Tate & Lyle on bio-based label adhesives.
The recent press release noted that the merger will provide the companies with a broader range of services to offer clients and higher levels of efficiencies and shared resources.Upon the merger, the shareholders from Meredian and DaniMer all hold equal shares of both companies.
Meredian recently hired a new chief financial officer to help the company explore financial options including a possible IPO (initial public offering). Meredian has engaged Piper Jaffray for the potential IPO and noted that it plans to go through the offering when the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) completes its review of the IPO submission.
Meredian has a manufacturing facility in Bainbridge, Georgia, which has the capability to produce 30 ktpa of PHA at full capacity. The last the blog heard is that the facility is reportedly been producing 400 pounds/week of PHA, and expects to increase this capacity up to 3,000 lbs/week when a new 20,000 liter fermentation vessel will come online, which is expected at around December. The company expects to have initial production of 6 million pounds/year of finished product after the commissioning of the vessel.
In April, the company announced that it has successfully produced in pilot scale its PHA formulation process at Tate & Lyle’s fermentation facility in Loudon, Tennessee. The patented Meredian process is FDA-approved for food contact. Meredian received a Food Substance Contact notification approval from the FDA that its PHA polymers are reportedly safe to use as food containers and for food storage. The company claimed it is the only one worldwide whose medium-chain length (MCL) PHA is approved for food substance contact.
The company also announced last month that it has harvested its first locally-sourced canola crop in Decatur County, Georgia. The harvesting of the 1,000-acres of canola fields planted last year began in May 12 and continued through Memorial Day. According to the company, the successful harvest of the pilot canola fields marks a major milestone in meeting the full-scale needs of its facility. More than 43 bushels of canola were produced per acre.
Meredian is repurposing a 1m square foot facility where the canola seeds will be cleaned and crushed into oil by a solvent and toxin-free, cold-press process. Until the crushing eqiupment is installed, the 850,000 pounds of seeds from the harvest will be stored at Meredian. I wonder how much oil this is equivalent to and how much PHA can be produced out of this? The company said majority of the seeds will be crushed to produce oil for the company’s current PHA production needs.
Those that are not crushed will be used for next year’s harvest, which will be planted this fall and set to be harvested in Spring 2015. Meredian expects between 10,000 and 15,000 acres of canola fields to be planted this fall. The company hopes to use 100,000 acres to grow canola to sustain the capacity of their fermentation facility.
I will report more about the PHA global market at this month’s Tecnon OrbiChem Bio-Materials newsletter including current production, prices and companies involved in this industry. In the meantime, here is a very interesting video explaining Meredian’s PHA production technology, which the company recently released. This is about 17 minutes so grab some snacks and learn more about PHA.