March 2006

First commercial plant for PHA Natural Plastics planned

Decatur, IL— Archer Daniels Midland Company and Metabolix have announced that ADM will build the first commercial plant to produce a new generation of high-performance natural plastics that are eco-friendly and based on sustainable, renewable resources. The plant will have an initial annual capacity of 50,000 tons per year, be located at a major ADM North American site and serve the joint venture being established by the companies.

The plant will produce PHA natural plastics that have a wide variety of applications in products currently made from petrochemical plastics, including coated paper, film, and molded goods. The PHA natural plastics are produced using a fully biological fermentation process that converts agricultural raw materials, such as corn sugar, into a versatile range of plastics that have excellent durability in use, but are compostable in both hot and cold compost, and are biodegraded even in the marine environment.

In 2004, ADM and Metabolix announced a strategic alliance to commercialize the Metabolix proprietary PHA technology, which is protected by over 130 issued and pending U.S. patents.

PHA natural plastics are a broad and versatile family of polymers that range in properties from rigid to elastic, and they can be converted into molded and thermoformed goods, extruded coatings and film, blown film, fibers, adhesives and many other products. They have excellent shelf life and resistance even to hot liquids, greases and oils, yet they biodegrade in aquatic, marine and soil environments and under anaerobic conditions, such as found in septic systems and municipal waste treatment plants. They can be both hot and cold composted. They are made using proprietary processes developed by Metabolix from renewable and sustainable agricultural raw materials.

 


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