As an industry leader in the development of PHAs, a family of biobased and biodegradable materials, Massachussetts-based Metabolix, has announced that it will highlight its polyhydroxyalkanoate biopolymers at the NPE2015 trade show. The company will also be presenting two technical papers at ANTEC, the SPI technical conference co-located with NPE.
Metabolix produces its materials via a biological fermentation process using renewable and sustainable agricultural feedstocks. These feedstocks can be sugars derived from corn, or other biomass components, including lignocellulosic sugars derived from energy crops. Its PHA resins range from strong, moldable thermoplastics to highly elastic materials to soft, sticky compositions, and are especially suited to applications requiring biocontent and/or biodegradation as a product feature. The biocontent and biodegradation profile of Mirel PHA biopolymer materials make them a responsible choice in applications from agricultural and marine uses to water treatment and consumer products.
In addition, Metabolix (Booth S-15041) will also demonstrate the benefits of its PHA-based additive solutions - PHA-based polymeric modifiers and processing aids that can enhance a range of performance characteristics in both biobased and petroleum-based plastics – at the upcoming show.
These include PHA-based polymeric modifiers that can extend the performance range of PLA while maintaining biocontent and compostability. Metabolix has shown that at low loading levels, PHA modified PLA shows an excellent balance of properties including increased toughness combined with increased ductility.
Moreover, the company is developing biobased PHA processing aids and performance modifiers for rigid, semi-rigid, and flexible PVC as well as PVC recyclate compounds. As a process aid, PHA additives allow torque reduction in highly filled systems, resulting in the ability to increase filler content and improve equipment performance. As performance modifiers, using PHA additives in PVC systems improves permanence in durable applications by reducing migration of primary plasticizers, and providing UV stability.
Metabolix will also be showing a proprietary biodegradable PHA latex barrier coating for paper and cardboard derived from renewable raw materials. The coating is compostable, marine degradable, and anaerobically digestible while performing comparably to the polyethylene coating it commonly replaces. According to Metabolix, biobased latex coatings based on PHA possess excellent barrier properties to water and grease, and are compatible with the re-pulping operations typically used to recycle paper and corrugated cardboard.
According to the company, another promising area is that of micropowders. Legislation aimed at reducing plastic pollution is beginning to emerge in the U.S. and Europe that is catalyzing the development of environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic microbeads currently used in personal care and cosmetic formulations. Metabolix is developing PHA technology to replace non-biodegradable plastic microbeads with PHA micropowder materials that are biobased and marine degradable.