Vinmar is on a roll when it comes to doing off-take supply deals in the renewables sector. After the BioAmber bio-succinic acid deal, Vinmar recently announced that it has signed a 20-year contract for 19 billion pounds of AirCarbon PHA from Newlight Technologies.
The Vinmar contract provides for the sale of 100% of AirCarbon PHA from Newlight’s planned 50 million pound/year production facility (where?) for 20 years. The contract will also cover 100% of the output from a 300 million pound/year facility, and a 600 million pound/year planned facility. AirCarbon PHA production will be ramped up in 3 phases, and contract maybe expanded by mutual agreements to cover additional AirCarbon production up to 19 billion pounds over 2o years.
AirCarbon is a PHA-based thermoplastic made from greenhouse gas with applications being developed in a wide range of products such as films, caps, closures, furniture, electronic accessories, bottles, etc. AirCarbon is produced by combining a high-yield biocatalyst with air and captured methane-based greenhouse gas emissions to produce a bio-based AirCarbon thermoplastic material that is reportedly cost-competitive with petroleum-derived thermoplastics.
From what I have reported at Tecnon OrbiChem’s Bio-Materials newsletter in the past, Newlight Technologies has around 100,000 lb/year PHA production at its California facility. Newlight’s microorganism-based biocatalyst reportedly generates a polymer conversion yield that is over nine times higher than previous methane-to-PHA conversion technologies.
The question is, how much is the company’s current PHA price and how low can it go with an initial commercial production of 50 million lbs/year? Other PHA polymers have reportedly been sold at around $5-6/kg. Newlight Technologies recently delivered its first commercial volume shipment of its AirCarbon PHA to computer manufacturer, Dell. It can be used as a stand-alone material or incorporated into existing materials such as Dell’s LLDPE bags. Tecnon OrbiChem published a comprehensive Chemical Profile on PHA for its January 2015 issue.