On 26 January the firm announced plans to increase output of its a-PHA grades to a 600,000lbs (274 tonnes) per annum capacity in 2016.
Massachusetts-headquartered Metabolix is positioning the new product as an environmentally friendly additive that can increase the use of other green materials – wood pulp, mineral fillers, and recycled PVC – in conventional PVC or polylactic acid (PLA) based plastics.
Metabolix chief operating officer Johan van Walsem says: ‘The commercial launch of these new grades of amorphous PHA represents an important development for Metabolix as we advance our business strategy focused on specialty biopolymers. This expanded pilot capacity is strategic for us to support existing customers and open new market development opportunities in our target application spaces.’
The a-PHA is fabricated using a solvent recovery process controlled by Metabolix. The company now plans to register a-PHA with the US Food and Drug Administration in food contact applications. This step would allow it to exploit opportunities in the retail and disposable food service packaging markets.
Another market that will be targeted immediately is green construction materials. This will include cable insulation, vinyl floor materials, roof membranes, and other plastic-wood composite applications.
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