US bioplastics producer Danimer Scientific – which produces a polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolymer from canola oil – says its new manufacturing plant in Kentucky, USA is expected to open in September, the Western Producer reported on 4 April.
“The amount of inquiries and people reaching out to us, looking for sustainable alternatives [to plastic], has grown exponentially,” said Richard Ivey, marketing manager for Danimer, which holds 125 patents in 20 countries for its PHA fermentation technology.
The company had been retrofitting a plant in Kentucky, which would produce bioplastic resins or pellets that could be used to make items such food packaging, drinking straws, cups, bottles and bags.
“Customers can use (the pellets) … in existing equipment to make their (plastics),” Ivey said. “That’s something we’ve invested heavily in … formulations that will work in existing equipment.”
Danimer – which has partnerships with global food giants PepsiCo and Nestlé – had developed a biodegradable potato chip bag, in collaboration with PepsiCo, and signed a deal with Nestlé in January to develop biodegradable plastic bottles, the Western Producer wrote.
The company combined its PHA polymer with other bio-polymers to manufacture its bioplastic pellets.
The company’s focus, for the next few years, would be refining its process and proving the technology could work on a commercial scale, the report said.
The canola oil for the plant would likely come from canola growers in the US southeast.
Ivey said it required about one pound (0.45kg) of canola to produce one pound of PHA.
Western Producer said that in 2017, the world produced about 348M tonnes of plastics. Research and Markets consultancy has predicted that the global market for bioplastics will be worth US$43bn by 2022, compared to US$17bn in 2017.