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   Non-TechMetabolix [MBLX] a Full Disclosure Thread


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From: Sam Citron12/17/2009 11:54:58 AM
   of 78
 
Kodak to Help to Make Plastic Wrap from Carbon Dioxide 1 comment
by: Greentech Media December 14, 2009 | about: EK
seekingalpha.com
By Michael Kanellos

Although it's made partly from carbon dioxide, Novomer says that its plastic wrap will be better for food.

The company's polypropylene carbonate (PPC) – which consists of 50 percent fossil fuels and 50 percent carbon dioxide – provides a better barrier against oxygen than traditional PPC, which comes completely from fossil fuels. Ideally, that will allow food to stay fresher longer and prevent spoilage.

With help from Kodak (EK), the world may be able to test that out in the near future. The company that once ruled the photographic market will built a pilot scale production facility with Novomer that will effectively let potential industrial customers obtain largish quantities of plastic wraps and coatings to test. Novomer, a spin-out of Cornell that raised $14 million in August, right now can only make very small quantities.

Ultimately, Novomer hopes to bring other types of plastics to the market. It could be swapped in for the acrylic currently used in those disposal diapers piling up in landfills.

There's a lot to like about this deal, and other similar deals between startups and industrial giants, like the one between green chemistry specialist LS9 and Proctor and Gamble. Currently, plastics manufacturing and plastics themselves consume about 10 percent of the oil in the U.S. If Novomer's process somehow went universal, fuel consumption could be dropped by 5 percent. The U.S. only has about 5 percent of the world's oil reserves so it's a significant gain. It could also bring the percentage of oil imports down from the current 65 percent plateau to where oil imports were in the middle of the decade. (Other companies, such as Axion International and Sollega, meanwhile, are devising ways to fashion products like building materials and solar racks out of somewhat cheap discarded plastic.)

It could also help foster economical carbon capture. When the technology is mature, Novomer claims it could be cost-competitive with fossil based plastics even without carbon capture, according to Mike Slowik, the strategic planning and analysis manager for the company. The material won't be as cheap as regular plastic, but manufacturers often have specific needs and formulas and will pay extra for companies that can meet their specific requirements. That is part of the reason you are seeing some biofuel companies emphasize green chemicals over fuel, which is more of a true commodity. If Novomer can thread the performance/price needle, it can definitely stay in any bidding wars.

"We can be competitive at scale without subsidies," he said.

Third, it could help revitalize jobs in hard-hit areas like upstate New York and the midwest. Finally, it could help manufacturers insulate themselves from commodity price swings.

But first, Novomer and Kodak have to prove it works.

The company's secret sauce is a series of chemical catalysts discovered by Cornell professor Geoffrey Coates that can prompt a reaction between epoxides (a fossil fuel material) and carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide at low temperatures and pressures. Right now, Novomer uses industrial grade carbon dioxide but it should be able to accommodate scrubbed gases from smokestacks.

By using Novomer's chemistry, the fossil fuel content in a polymer can be cut from 100 percent to 50 percent. Ultimately, the fossil figure might drop to zero. Researchers tried to devise similar catalysts for decades "but we are 30,000 times more efficient than they were in the 70s," CEO Jim Mahoney told us earlier this year.

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From: scion2/17/2010 11:44:01 AM
   of 78
 
Irish startup turns waste plastic into biodegradable products

By Lisa Sibley
Published 2009-12-09 15:13
cleantech.com

What began as research project to produce biodegradable plastics from waste has evolved into a company that now has large scale ambitions.

Ireland-based Bioplastech is converting waste, agricultural byproducts and petrochemical products into value added biodegradable plastic polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), Kevin O’Connor told the Cleantech Group today. PHAs are linear polyesters produced by bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids, according to Wikipedia, and can store carbon and energy.

O’Connor, who heads the company’s management team, is a senior lecturer in microbiology at University College Dublin, Ireland, which developed the technology and is collaborating with Trinity College Dublin.

Started in 2008, Bioplastech is also looking at waste food oils and biodiesel, though the main driver to begin the 10-employee company was waste plastic, O’Connor said, comparing it to most companies which are going the biomass route. The company is looking to test its lab-proven technology on a larger level.

“We’re looking to scale the fermentation side of it and also produce the polymers so we can work with a number of partners,” he said.

The company has been funded with about €10 million ($14.7 million) from the Irish government, including government development agency Enterprise Ireland, which supports indigenous companies and academic research (see Trinity College Dublin looks to bring cleantech innovation to market [1]).

O’Connor said Bioplastech is seeking €5 million to €7 million in new investment to build the company’s infrastructure, scale up production, and develop patentable products for various industries including the agricultural and biomedical sectors. O’Connor declined to disclose the kinds of products.

The funding would be used to build a pilot scale facility to demonstrate the technology. O’Connor said a European partner has agreed to build a subsequent commercial scale facility if Bioplastech can demonstrate its technology at pilot scale. Its global potential customers range from the ag and biomedical fields to general packaging.

In Europe, it ranges from €100 to €200 per ton to get rid of the waste, he said. Companies pay to have it collected, which is in turn sold at a markup to China.

“There’s a growing need to deal with plastic wastes,” he said, describing how when oil prices dropped, the plastics recycling industry collapsed.

China, which is one of the single biggest importers of plastics, reverted to virgin oil; the country didn’t want to pay for plastic waste at uncompetitive prices, he said. Instead, it is ending up in landfills, or in the case of Ireland, O’Connor said it is being warehoused.

“Waste plastic is something people are willing to pay to get rid of. That has a certain business advantage,” he said.

O’Connor thinks his company’s technology holds an advantage in that it’s the first medium chain linked PHA. Most companies are working with short chain length PHA, where demand currently outweighs production. However, medium chain length PHA is a superior thermoplastic elastomer that offers water resistance and barrier properties.

The company plans to profit by licensing the resin for its products and partnering to produce the plastic.

The company’s competition includes companies such as U.S.-based Metabolix [2], which is making bioplastics from starch-based materials such as corn (see Metabolix, ADM to open new bioplastics factory [3] and New bioplastic from Metabolix and ADM is biodegradable [4]).

Bioplastech is one of 20 potential new investment opportunities the Cleantech Group added to its innovation pipeline this week, available exclusively to members of the Cleantech Network [5]. Members can click here [6] to search the database.

Interested in emerging cleantech innovations? Here are two new international companies added to the Cleantech Group's database this week also looking for funding:
McLean, Va.-based Perseid Solar is currently seeking $10 million in startup capital. The company provides fully configured solar systems with architectural and engineering support so that its customers have grid-tied photovoltaic power.
Denmark-based NewCo is seeking an unspecified amount of funding to develop its pilot phase, a global sales strategy, and build a fiber board plant in Naestved, a commercial town in Zealand, Denmark. The company develops a technology to turn sludge waste from paper production into useful building boards for walls, partitioning, and ceilings.

Seeking capital, partners or customers? Submit to the Cleantech Group’s innovation pipeline [7]. cleantech.com

cleantech.com

Bacteria That Eat Plastic to Make Plastic Goes Commercial

Michael Kanellos 04 07 09, 1:58 PM
greentechmedia.com

Thanks to Todd Kimmel of Mayfield Fund and overall green chemistry fan for updating us on this one.

Last year, we wrote about how Kevin O’Connor at University of College Dublin had come up with a way to recycle old plastic bottles and containers with microorganisms. The bugs eat a cooked down version of a plastic bottle and metabolize it into new, saleable molecules. If I could do that, I’d never leave home.

The plastic that comes out of the digestive process is also biodegradable. It can go safely into a landfill and will disappear over time.

O’Connor has since formed a company, called Bioplastech, to commercialize it. CrapPlastic is funner, but might spook investors.

If the process can be brought up to an industrial level, it could help the world get rid of the nation-sized mass of plastic that humanity has generated. Right now, there are two general ways of dealing with old plastic.

Some countries, like England and Ireland, ship it to other countries after doing the green thing and recycling. Plastic bottles have a low recycling value; hence, a lot of the plastic ends up in landfills forever. (But the Irish are big into recycling — a 15 cent tax on plastic bags dropped their use by over 99 percent, O’Connor said.)

The other method to “recycle” plastic is to burn it. Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and other countries practice it. It yields useable energy, but it’s not the cleanest practice in the world either.

Bioplastech’s process works like this. Polypropylene (plastic) is cooked until it turns into a styrene oil. The oil is then fed to microorganisms, which metabolically turn it into globules of fatty acids.

When 60 percent of the bacteria consists of those fatty acids, the microorganism is split open and the harvested fatty acids are converted to a biodegradable plastic. See why bacteria make such good workers?

Keep your eye on Ireland in cleantech and advance science, by the way. For years, the Irish tech industry primarily concentrated on serving as an outsourcing destination for multinationals. But in about 2000, the government — realizing that Ireland was no longer a low-cost center — began to invest in technology transfer center and incubators.

greentechmedia.com

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From: JakeStraw11/3/2011 8:59:43 AM
   of 78
 
Metabolix's CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript
seekingalpha.com

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From: tnsaf1/13/2012 10:34:35 AM
   of 78
 
Metabolix shares tank after ADM calls off joint venture

Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:38am EST

(Reuters) - Shares of Metabolix Inc ( MBLX.O) more than halved on Friday morning, a day after agricultural processor Archer Daniels Midland Co ( ADM.N) terminated a joint venture with the bio-based plastics maker.

Metabolix shares were down 56 percent to $2.64 in early trade on Friday, making it the top percentage loser on the Nasdaq.

Jefferies downgraded the company -- which makes plastics, chemicals and energy from non-food crops like switchgrass -- to "hold" from "buy," saying the termination illustrates "one of the challenges faced by the capital-intensive renewables sector."

On Thursday, ADM said it will end its relationship with Metabolix as projected financial returns were "too uncertain."

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To: tnsaf who wrote (73)1/14/2012 11:04:34 AM
From: richardred
   of 78
 
I think Dow Chemical reached ADM's conclusion when it sold its interest in Natureworks back to Cargill in 2005.
IMO great idea and science, but a tough way to achieve profitable growth.

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From: epicure1/3/2013 10:58:04 AM
   of 78
 
Anyone still watching MBLX? I found the company only recently.

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To: epicure who wrote (75)2/22/2013 10:04:26 PM
From: Starwalt
   of 78
 
Started watching this co. 2 weeks ago because of a possible buyout. It has since doubled in price to $2.20. I have no information why other than the rumor or perhaps someone is trying to build a large position slowly..

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To: Starwalt who wrote (76)2/22/2013 10:06:27 PM
From: epicure
   of 78
 
Good to know

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To: richardred who wrote (74)10/12/2015 10:50:33 AM
From: richardred
   of 78
 
Very interesting to see someone take a gamble on MBLX. With Corn prices down and packaging interests in Bio materials up. Just maybe they can convince some big consumer packaging companies that use oil based plastics to switch? Corn is readily available on scale. I'm not convinced by bamboo or sugarcane.

P&G
pg.com

Bamboo — Nature's Eco-friendly Packaging Solution
dell.com

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