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One of eight organizations to receive a total of nearly $5.7 million from the US Department of Energy for biomanufacturing R&D, Danimer Scientific is the only one focused on biodegradable plastics.

Clare Goldsberry

July 30, 2020

3 Min Read
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Image: Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

Danimer Scientific (Bainbridge, GA) a developer and manufacturer of biodegradable materials, announced that it is one of eight organizations selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to receive a total of nearly $5.7 million to support biomanufacturing-related research and development projects. Danimer Scientific is the sole organization among the eight focused on the manufacture of biodegradable plastics.

The project will accelerate the commercialization of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a material verified by the University of Georgia to be a truly biodegradable alternative to traditional petrochemical plastics. To carry out the work, Danimer Scientific will work closely with research teams at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA. With access to state-of-the-art facilities and expertise provided by the DOE program, Danimer Scientific said that it will produce tunable combinations of PHA with different chain lengths, enabling the creation of new biodegradable plastics for a greater range of applications.

“Reducing the environmental impact of single-use plastic waste is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet, and with the DOE’s support, we can explore potential new areas of application for PHAs that have not been tried before,” said Phil Van Trump, CTO of Danimer Scientific. “We thank the DOE for its support of this project and are looking forward to breaking new ground in the world of biodegradable plastics.”

Part of the Agile BioFoundry (ABF) consortium, the eight projects selected by the DOE will leverage National Laboratory capabilities to address challenges in biomanufacturing.

Sponsored by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, the Agile BioFoundry aims to advance biomanufacturing by uniting and expanding the capabilities of the national laboratories to develop a robust, agile biomanufacturing platform accessible to researchers across the private and public sectors. ABF participants include Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and more than a dozen university and industry partners.

Earlier this year, Danimer announced the opening of a plant in Winchester, KY, and shipped the first truckload of formulated PHA resin. Work has started on phase two of the facility to double capacity by 2021. Danimer also announced that it had formed a partnership with Columbia Packaging Group (CPG), a manufacturer of custom plastic bags and flexible packaging, to create compostable bags, film, and roll-stock for the flexible packaging market. Danimer will supply home-compostable film resin containing the company’s proprietary biopolymer Nodax, which CPG will convert into made-to-order packaging spanning the produce, agriculture, bakery, and medical industries.

“CPG will be among the first companies to receive resins made with PHA from our newly opened manufacturing plant in Kentucky,” said Stephen Croskrey, CEO of Danimer Scientific.

Danimer Scientific’s signature Nodax PHA possesses seven TUV Austria certifications and statements of industrial and home compostability; is biodegradable in anaerobic soil, freshwater, and marine environments; and is 100% bio based. All of Danimer Scientific’s biopolymers, including its Nodax PHA, are FDA approved for food contact.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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