Newlight expands bioplastic packaging technology
Posted by Jenni Spinner, Senior Editor -- Packaging Digest, 10/12/2012 10:26:33 AM
Newlight Technologies announced today the addition of 100,000-pounds per year in new production capacity on the company's advanced-generation gas-to-plastic production line, which converts air and greenhouse gases into high-performance bioplastics that can significantly out-compete oil-based plastics on price.
Newlight's expanded line is fully operational, and incorporates a range of patent-protected and patent-pending technologies, including the company's most advanced resin functionalization and performance modification technologies. Plastics made from the line are currently being sold to customers with applications ranging from furniture parts and storage containers to film applications.
Founded in 2003 out of Princeton University and Northwestern University by Mark Herrema and Kenton Kimmel , Newlight has developed, patented, and commercialized a groundbreaking technology that pulls carbon and oxygen molecules out of air containing greenhouse gas and converts those molecules into high-performance, sustainable plastics at ultra-high-efficiency. Newlight's technology is operable using a wide range of carbon sources, including greenhouse gases derived from wastewater treatment systems, landfills, and energy facilities. The company's plastics require no oil, no food crops, and, of equal importance, can out-compete oil-based commodity plastics on price.
"The addition of this new advanced-generation capacity is the result of a singular focus: to manufacture plastic resins from air and greenhouse gas that match or exceed oil-based resins on performance while significantly out-competing on price," stated Newlight CEO, Mark Herrema . "This line is an important milestone for Newlight, because it achieves those objectives in resounding fashion, and provides a powerful stepping stone on our path to commodity-scale volume."
Capabilities of Newlight's advanced-generation line include the ability to produce the company's most advanced-performance grade resins, including resins that can supplant otherwise non-sustainable grades of polypropylene, polyethylene, ABS, and TPU.
Overall, the line also incorporates Newlight's breakthrough achievements in three critical areas that have been long-standing impediments to gas-to-plastic conversion, including: 1) a 500% increase in biocatalyst-to-polymer efficiency, enabled in part by the company's proprietary epigenetic modification mechanism; 2) an order of magnitude in cost reduction in downstream processing; and 3) proprietary polymer functionalization to render PHA-based materials performance-competitive with oil-based plastics.
With key performance and price benchmarks achieved over multiple years of operations, the company is now preparing for significant near-term capacity expansion, with progress underway to add new multi-million pound per year capacity within the coming quarters.
"We have been working to bring our technology to commodity scale since 2003, so it is exciting for us as our growth curve accelerates," said Newlight CTO, Kenton Kimmel . "A combination of key breakthroughs, skilled partners, and years of innovation have led us to this place. We are proud to be here, but this is just the beginning."
Source: Newlight Technologies LLC via PR Newswire
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