Using $20 million in financing from Royal DSM N.V.s venture arm, Tianjin Green Bio-Science Co. will build a manufacturing site for polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) in the Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA). Produced through fermentation by microorganisms, PHA is an alternative to other bioplastics such as PLA, which is derived from polylactic acid by way of plant sugars. To date, the main proponent of PHA has been Metabolix (Cambridge, MA), which, along with its partner Archer Daniels Midland, will begin operating a new PHA plant this year in Clinton, IA, with an announced capacity of 110 million lb.
DSM said construction on the Tianjin PHA site would start in the second quarter, with production planned for early 2009. It will have an annual production capacity of 10,000 tons of PHA.
In January, DSM announced that it would work with Frances Roquette on the commercialization of a process to ferment biobased chemical precursors like succinic acid, with plans for a demonstration plant to open in Lestrem, France in 2009. That facility is expected to have annual capacity for several hundred tonnes. Roquette is a producer of sugar-alcohol polyols, creating more than 650 products from 6 million tonnes of corn, wheat, peas, and potatoes.[email protected]