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   Non-TechMetabolix [MBLX] a Full Disclosure Thread


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From: Sam Citron4/23/2007 11:20:29 AM
   of 78
 
Greener Shopping Bags? [Technology Review]
Consumers may find that the virtues of biodegradable plastics are really a mixed bag.
By Peter Fairley

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors' vote last month to institute the first ban on polyethylene shopping bags in the United States may reduce the volume of plastic in landfills, but, despite many advocates' hopes, it is unlikely to dramatically reduce dependence on imported oil. That's because most biodegradable plastic bags (which San Francisco officials hope will take polyethylene's place) rely on a petroleum-based form of polyester.

San Francisco's ban will, however, create an important new market for biodegradable plastics that could bring plastics based on renewable feedstocks into the market. The best hope may be Metabolix, based in Cambridge, MA, which last year completed a $95 million initial public offering and signed a joint venture with agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) to develop its corn sugar-based biodegradable polymer.

Standard polyethylene bags have multiplied (San Franciscans alone use 181 million a year) because they are cheap and easy to use. They also produce less pollution in their manufacture than paper bags do. Until recently, biodegradable plastic bags have cost at least three times more and fallen short on performance, but the picture has changed over the past decade. "Today you've got some products that work from a functionality standpoint--the price gap has come way down," says Keith Edwards, biopolymers business manager in North America for German plastics and chemicals giant BASF.

Most biodegradable plastic bags are produced by blending plant starch with petroleum-based polyesters, which improves the bag's strength and processibility with conventional film equipment. Leading producers are BASF and Italian polymers firm Novamont. Edwards estimates that biodegradable bags from these polymers could cost three to four cents more than the one-to-two-cents-per-bag cost of polyethylene. But he's betting that San Francisco consumers will demand them thanks to San Francisco's curbside organic-waste recycling program.

San Francisco's environmental officials are making the same bet. Currently, the program collects about 300 tons of food per day, contributing to a 67 percent recycling rate for its municipal waste overall. But that number must rise significantly if the city is to meet a self-imposed goal to recycle 75 percent of its waste by 2010.

BASF recently boosted capacity for its biodegradable resin from 8,000 metric tons to 14,000 metric tons per year. Overall, the company expects annual production of biodegradable and bio-based polymers to triple or quadruple by 2010 from an estimated 50,000 tons produced worldwide in 2005. Meanwhile, Novamont plans to scale up a process for producing its biodegradable form of polyester from vegetable oils; it could begin within the next two years.

Metabolix expects that the first dedicated production plant for its polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) polymer will begin generating up to 110 million pounds of the natural polyester per year next year. The plant, which ADM is building adjacent to its Clinton, IA, corn wet mill, uses corn sugar to feed fermentation vessels filled with bacteria that have been genetically engineered by Metabolix to produce the polymer. Corn stocks will be burned to power the process. "We'll reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by about two-thirds and petroleum usage by about 80 percent compared to traditional petroleum-based plastics," says Metabolix vice president Brian Igoe.

Igoe says PHA will break down without the high temperatures found in industrial composting facilities. That means that bags or other products made from Metabolix's polymers will degrade if they drift into wetlands or the ocean. "We're not saying that our products are environmentally disposable--nobody would encourage that solution--but the reality is that we have very leaky collection systems," Igoe says. He adds that those environmental benefits are central to Metabolix's marketing plan because Metabolix's polymer will cost three times as much as petroleum-based polymers.

But in many applications, including PHA-based bags that Igoe says could hit the market by the end of this year, the user will be willing to pay a premium. He thinks that many consumers are ready to do so--especially if they get to keep the convenience of plastic they've grown accustomed to. "Plastic bags are very functional," says Igoe. "If you have a bag that has the environmental benefits we have, you're going to see a lot more usage. There's definitely a group of people out there willing to pay for cleaner and greener solutions."

Ironically, just as biodegradable plastics are matching the performance of conventional plastics and finding willing markets, the success of biofuels is creating a new challenge: a rapidly rising demand for corn sugar. The use of corn sugar to produce ethanol has boosted food prices, doubling, for example, the price of tortillas in Mexico and sparking street protests. (See "Ethanol Demand Threatens Food Prices.") Manufacturers of food-based plastics such as Metabolix could see their costs rise too. They might have to price the petroleum-free bag beyond what even San Francisco's green buyers will pay.

technologyreview.com

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From: richardred4/24/2007 12:43:02 AM
   of 78
 
Metabolix and ADM Collaborate on Plastic
Monday April 23, 12:04 pm ET
Metabolix and ADM to Jointly Produce a Family of Biobased and Biodegradable Plastics

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Plastics, fuels and chemicals maker Metabolix Inc. and agricultural processor Archer Daniels Midland Co. said Monday they will jointly produce a family of plastics that are crop-based, sustainable and biodegradable.

Mirel Natural Plastics, which are made from renewable resources such as corn sugar, will be commercialized through the two companies' joint venture, Telles. Telles' first commercial-scale plant in Clinton, Iowa is expected to start up in 2008 and produce Mirel at an annual rate of 110 million pounds.

The companies said the crop-based plastics are an alternative to petroleum-based plastics and will help reduce reliance on oil.

On Friday, the companies released an online survey showing 72 percent of respondents do not know that most plastic is made from petroleum products, primarily oil.

The survey, which was conducted by national online market research firm InsightExpress for Telles, also showed that 40 percent of respondents incorrectly believe that that petroleum-based plastic will biodegrade, or dissolve naturally in landfills and oceans.

Metabolix said it is currently working with more than 40 prospective customers on more than 60 applications for Mirel, including consumer products, packaging, single-use disposables, and products used in agriculture and erosion control.

Metabolix shares surged $2.86, or 15.9 percent, to $20.85 in morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares of Metabolix, which went public in November 2006, have since traded between $14.09 and $21.18.

Shares of ADM, which is based in Decatur, Ill., rose 37 cents to $38.92 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

biz.yahoo.com

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To: richardred who wrote (32)4/27/2007 1:30:18 PM
From: Sam Citron
   of 78
 
Sold all my MBLX today. Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.

It was a hypy week that began Monday with the Press release you cited that simply named a long existing partnership and product but that played well to a public that "[did] not know that most plastic is made from petroleum products" and ended Friday with an appearance by the CEO on CNBC that also said nothing new to anyone who had read the prospectus. It felt very much like classic pre-lockup expiration hype.

It was a lovely ride.

Sam

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From: Glenn Petersen4/28/2007 12:56:41 PM
   of 78
 
The Greening Of Metabolix

By Gene G. Marcial
Business Week

May 7, 2007

Metabolix (MBLX ), a little-known company that uses bioengineered microorganisms to ferment sugar in the making of biodegradable plastic and chemicals, streaked from 17 on Apr. 20, to 24.92 on Apr. 25. Pamela Bassett of Cantor Fitzgerald wasn't surprised. She recommended the stock on Dec. 21, 2006, at 18, and sees it hitting 40 in 12 months. On Apr. 23, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM ), which owns about 6%, announced a joint venture with Metabolix to produce high-performance, all-natural plastics. "It is the only bioplastic that can be biodegraded at sea, soil, or sewer without industrial composting or incineration," says Bassett. The plastic can be used for grocery bags and other types of containers, with high strength and durability, she adds. Bassett expects "great demand" for natural plastics. The joint venture will mean expanding the capacity of a plant now under construction on ADM's campus in Clinton, Iowa, to four times its planned 110 million pounds per year. Laurence Alexander of securities firm Jefferies Group (JEF ), with a buy rating, says Metabolix, which will also use other plants to produce plastic and bioenergy feedstocks, is a pure play in "green" plastics. He figures its partnership with Archer Daniels "significantly reduces" the risks.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

businessweek.com

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From: Sam Citron5/8/2007 12:06:42 PM
   of 78
 
NEW TECHNOLOGIES NOT TALKING TRASH [NY Post old 3.8.07]
By PAUL THARP
PACKAGING:Shrink-wrapped packages are the neighbor-friendly way to store trash until it can be processed.
PACKAGING:Shrink-wrapped packages are the neighbor-friendly way to store trash until it can be processed.
PrintEmailDigg ItStory Bottom

March 8, 2007 -- Garbage was never sweeter - at least for investors.

Hitting the market are new garbage bags spun from sugar that actually dissolve cleanly under the ground.

The bags - resulting from a race among the world's five biggest agricultural giants - are just one of the commercial breakthroughs hitting Wall Street's pavement that's suddenly padded with new billions in investment cash.

The first out of the gate is a public company to build its factory for dissolvable bags and packaging made from sugars is Metabolix, bankrolled by No. 1 agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland.

In its first four months, it's up 32 percent and resisted last week's market rout.

Even New York City's in the gold rush, and expects to build a showcase processing plant that cleanly converts throwaway plastics and smelly trash into free electricity for all five boroughs - hoping to prevent summer blackouts while getting rid of garbage for just pennies.

It's written into new city sanitation laws, and outlined in a City Hall blueprint for adopting alternative technologies, due later this month from the Economic Development Corporation, said Councilman Michael McMahon, chairman of the council's sanitation committee.

While several years away, the new trash-to-energy pilot plant would likely be installed in a sprawling industrial stretch in Jersey City in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. The city already uses a giant factory there of Hugo Neu Sims to recycle all its plastic, metal and glass, said McMahon.

Technologies to convert the garbage range from giant laser "plasma guns" that reduce it to harmless steam and a few elements, and gasification technology to run generators cleanly. Incineration isn't used in such plants.

Meanwhile, the problem of the stench of garbage piles waiting to be zapped into clean renewable energy is making other investors rich.

Former Wall Street investment banker David Stoller launched TransLoad America four years ago with a novel solution to the stink: big portable rigs and on-site factories that compress and shrink-wrap garbage into tidy Volkswagen-sized pods.

It cuts about 20 percent from costs of conventional trash handing for export because no mess is left behind.

"This solves the old problem of not-in-my-backyard because it has no smell at all, or any kind of leakage, and can be stored in large supply for years as feed stock to continually run a trash-to-energy facility," said Stoller.

TransLoad, based in Newark, has been in talks with officials in New York City and Los Angeles, the two largest trash exporters, about shrink-wrapping municipal trash for eventual use as a renewal energy source.

"In three or four years, all the plants popping up for natural and biodegradable plastics will be up and running, and that's when regulators will start to move in and make their use required by law," said biotech analyst Laurence Alexander of Jefferies & Co.

He sees growth of 20 percent a year for biodegradable plastics.

Driving the natural plastics revolution is the four-fold hike in the price of crude oil, which is used in the bulk of plastics here. Substitutes have been around for years but unheeded.

Even Henry Ford developed a process in 1941 to build his first "plastic car" using soybean by-products and chemical stiffeners. It never caught on, nor did the wonders of biodegradable plastic that was perfected four decades ago.

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From: Sam Citron5/13/2007 8:33:21 AM
   of 78
 
Ashland and Cargill to Form Joint Venture for Bio-based Chemicals

Ashland Inc., a global chemical company, and Cargill have agreed in principle to create a new joint venture devoted solely to the development and production of bio-based chemicals. The parties intend for the new stand-alone entity to become a leading global supplier of chemicals from renewable sources.

The venture’s first product will be propylene glycol (PG). Using both licensed and proprietary technology, the joint venture will produce high-grade propylene glycol from glycerin, an abundant co-product of biodiesel production.

The joint venture expects to provide global manufacturing and marketing of bio-based PG, starting with a 65,000 metric ton-per-year plant at a yet-to-be-finalized location in Europe.

The venture anticipates a combined initial capital investment in the range of $80 million to $100 million. Details on the name, leadership and development plans are expected to be announced later in 2007.

We believe the chemical market has reached a tipping point where bio-based and petroleum-based options are both desired by the market and practical to produce. To be in a position where Ashland can offer bio-based specialty chemical products in the future, we need to help foster the creation of bio-based basic chemicals now. We are creating our future and we've found a terrific partner in Cargill to do so.
—Walter Solomon, vice president and chief growth officer, Ashland Inc.

According to Ashland market consultants, annual global production for propylene glycol totals more than 1.4 million metric tons, and research shows that global demand growing at a 3 - 7% rate. Propylene glycol is a common ingredient in a variety of resins, lubricants, cosmetics, paints, detergents and antifreeze. Today, propylene glycol is produced from propylene oxide, a petroleum-based intermediate.

Laboratory tests of the proprietary production method have shown the bio-based propylene glycol product will feature a high level of purity. In testing, the process to be used by the joint venture is efficient and produces fewer byproducts than other alternative approaches to making renewable propylene glycol, according to the companies.

greencarcongress.com
biz.yahoo.com

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From: richardred6/8/2007 7:51:26 PM
   of 78
 
DuPont Launches DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) - its Newest Renewably Sourced Polymer Family
Monday June 4, 9:00 am ET
Family of Polyols Contains 80-100 Percent Renewable Content While Enhancing Performance

WILMINGTON, Del., June 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DuPont (NYSE: DD - News) today announced its next polymer family made with renewable resources - DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM), which is made from 100 percent renewable resources. This patented new product line joins DuPont(TM) Sorona® as the newest polymer family made with corn instead of petroleum. Cerenol(TM) enhances the performance of a diverse portfolio of end-use products that range from running shoes and ski boots to cosmetics, automotive components and spandex fiber applications.


DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) is a family of renewably sourced, high-performance polyols (polyetherdiols). Cerenol(TM) can replace petroleum-based ingredients or finished products without compromising functionality. It offers value- added properties and can increase process efficiencies for a broad range of products in diverse markets including personal care, functional fluids and high-performance elastomers. Unlike petroleum-based or other plant-based alternatives, DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) is easily tailored to meet specific needs and performs better in many end uses while providing environmental benefits.

"Since customers want environmentally smart options that do not compromise performance, we are pleased to now offer both Sorona® and Cerenol(TM) -- two high-performance polymers that are engineered to meet or exceed the performance of their petroleum-based counterparts," said DuPont Bio-Based Materials Vice President & General Manager Peter C. Hemken.

DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) is named from Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. The liquid polyol is made using Bio-PDO(TM) from the DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products joint venture in Loudon, Tenn. Cerenol(TM) is the result of polymerizing Bio-PDO(TM) with itself. Compared to existing alternatives such as polytetramethylene ether glycol (PTMEG), DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) has a significantly lower environmental footprint as determined by an ISO 14000- compliant Life Cycle Analysis, because from cradle to gate it has a 40 percent savings in non-renewable energy and 42 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Cerenol(TM) is being produced at DuPont operations in the United States and Canada.

Cerenol(TM) has a diverse portfolio of uses and benefits. For example, in personal care applications such as lotions, certain Cerenol(TM) grades provide a soft after-feel and reduce the need for certain additives. In some functional fluids such as heat transfer fluids, Cerenol(TM) offers a biodegradable fluid with excellent thermal conductivity. Cerenol(TM) is an ideal soft segment for several thermoplastic elastomers and thus enhances the performance of these elastomers. As an example, in spandex fibers it can replace the petrochemical soft segment of the polymer to provide better stretch recovery and an increase in the spinning speed of the fiber.

Cerenol(TM) will be the building block for two other renewably sourced products from DuPont. First, for new automotive primers and clearcoats from DuPont Performance Coatings that will be available in the first quarter of 2008, Cerenol(TM) provides increased chip resistance and flexibility. Second, grades of DuPont(TM) Hytrel® thermoplastic elastomers made with Cerenol(TM) will be available in late 2007 and will offer performance comparable to conventional grades.

DuPont's unique breadth of biology, chemistry and materials science, ranging from better seeds to value-added end-use products, has enabled the creation of DuPont(TM) Renewably Sourced Materials, where each product contains a minimum of 20 percent renewable content by weight. These high- performance products are sourced to a significant extent from renewable, sustainable agricultural feedstocks, rather than petroleum. Renewably Sourced Materials from DuPont help reduce the environmental footprint, promote rural development and increased markets for farmers around the world, and help reduce dependence on petrochemicals for everyday products. For more information about Cerenol(TM) and other Renewably Sourced Materials from DuPont, visit renewable.dupont.com.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont(TM), The miracles of science(TM), Cerenol(TM), Sorona® and Hytrel® are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

Source: DuPont

biz.yahoo.com

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To: richardred who wrote (37)6/8/2007 7:52:29 PM
From: richardred
   of 78
 
Bio-Factory Producing Corn-Based Polymer
Friday June 8, 5:18 pm ET
By Duncan Mansfield, Associated Press Writer
DuPont, Tate & Lyle Begin Production of Corn-Based Polymer

LOUDON, Tenn. (AP) -- The nation's top energy official hailed on Friday the innovation behind chemical giant DuPont Co.'s new $100 million bioengineering joint-venture with multinational agri-processor Tate & Lyle PLC to produce a new biology-based polymer.

The Loudon plant is churning out a product derived from corn that the companies say can directly replace and improve upon petroleum-based ingredients in everything from carpets to clothes to cosmetics, saving energy and using renewable resources at the same time.

"The work that will be done here is on the leading edge of a biotechnology revolution, which I believe will change the way we power our cars, our trucks, our homes and our businesses," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said during a formal opening ceremony.

The plant is expected to make 100 million pounds of its bio-product annually. The plant may not reach full capacity for another year, but it already has shipped 85 rail cars of its bio-product since November.

"Up to this point, we have been focused on recycling products and putting that back in other products," said Jeffrey S. Lorberdaum, CEO of carpetmaker Mohawk Industries. "This is allowing us to take the next step in environmental sustainability."

By the fall, Mohawk will be marketing a line of carpet made entirely from the bio-ingredient from the Loudon plant.

DuPont and Tate & Lyle say their corn-based propanediol, or Bio-PDO, will find new uses because it helps fabrics take dyes more brilliantly, carpets become naturally stain resistant, face creams be gentler to the skin, and airplane de-icers biodegrade.

"It is the most significant invention since nylon," DuPont Chairman and CEO Charles "Chad" Holliday Jr. said in an interview with The Associated Press. The Wilmington, Del.-based company invented nylon in 1935.

"The functionality of this product is what really differentiates it," Iain Ferguson, chief executive of London-based Tate & Lyle, told the AP. "That gives us something which has a real edge."

The Loudon plant, about 35 miles south of Knoxville, uses corn sugar or glucose from an adjoining Tate & Lyle ethanol plant. An E. coli bacteria modified by DuPont scientists breaks down the glucose through a fermentation process much like making beer.

The result is a clear liquid compound that might be used in a quickly growing range of products, including fabrics, cosmetics, liquid detergents, boat hulls, ski boots and runway de-icers.

Brent Erickson, an executive vice president at the Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington, D.C., said that while DuPont and Tate & Lyle are not alone, the commercialization of their Loudon plant was a significant development in what he termed the third wave of a biotech revolution that began 20 years ago in medicine and then agriculture about a decade ago.

"It has gone beyond the doctor's office into consumer goods and other products that we never imagined," he said.

Holliday and Ferguson said they have factored rising corn prices, driven in part by growing demand for biofuels, into their equation.

Steven Mirshak, president of the DuPont-Tate & Lyle Bio-Products joint venture, said the price of the companies' Bio-PDO base is "similar" to nylon. A chemical version of the product was discovered in the 1940s but was too expensive to make.

"But with our new process using biology, we are able to produce PDO at a cost point where we can develop direct applications of its use in a variety of markets," he said, replacing petroleum counterparts.

Corn-based substitutes for petroleum are good for the environment, but experts have said they also contribute to a rise in global food import costs, making it harder for developing countries to feed their populations.

Holliday said DuPont brings an unusual perspective to the corn supply situation. The company also owns the major corn seed brand Pioneer and is devoting considerable resources to increasing its productivity.

"Every time you get something like this where you get a price increase, you get further investment in agricultural production," Ferguson said. "And there is clearly considerable further potential to raise the yields."

DuPont Co.: dupont.com

Tate & Lyle PLC: tateandlyle.com

biz.yahoo.com

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From: richardred7/2/2007 11:08:23 AM
   of 78
 
Dow Completes Wolff Walsrode Acquisition
Monday July 2, 6:56 am ET
Dow Chemical Completes Acquisition of Bayer's Wolff Walsrode Division

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) -- Dow Chemical Co. said Monday it completed its acquisition of Bayer AG's cellulose plastics unit, Wolff Walsrode, for $590 million.

Including assumed debt and pension commitments, the deal is valued at $725 million.

Bayer said in March it would divest Wolff Walsrode as part of plans to finance its acquisition of fellow German drug maker Schering AG. Bayer said it plans to use the $590 million cash portion of the transaction to lower debt.

Wolff Walsrode will become part of Dow's Water Soluble Polymers business.

"Wolff is a strategically aligned acquisition that brings new expertise and customer focus to accelerate Dow's growth in key specialty markets," Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said in a statement.

The acquisition is expected to add to Dow's earnings by the end of the first year of ownership.

Questions or comments about this story should be directed to the Financial News desk of The Associated Press at 212-621-7190.
biz.yahoo.com

dow.com

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From: richardred9/28/2007 12:06:07 AM
   of 78
 
Metabolix Receives $2M Government Award
Thursday September 27, 6:42 pm ET
Metabolix Gets $2M Award From Commerce Department, to Use Proceeds for Product Development

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Metabolix Inc., which is developing biodegradable plastics from corn sugar, said Thursday it received a $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Metabolix said it will use the award, part of the agency's Advanced Technology Program, to develop a commercially viable process for producing biobased chemicals from renewable agricultural products.

Shares rose $1.24, or 5 percent, to $25.90 during aftermarket electronic trading after closing up 81 cents at $24.66.
biz.yahoo.com

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