ADM and Metabolix Announce First Commercial Plant for PHA Natural Plastics
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) and Metabolix have announced that ADM will build the first commercial plant to produce a new generation of high-performance natural plastics that are eco-friendly and based on sustainable, renewable resources. The plant will have an initial annual capacity of 50,000 tons per year, be located at a major ADM North American site and serve the joint venture being established by the companies.
The plant will produce PHA natural plastics that have a wide variety of applications in products currently made from petrochemical plastics, including coated paper, film, and molded goods. The PHA natural plastics are produced using a fully biological fermentation process that converts agricultural raw materials, such as corn sugar, into a versatile range of plastics that have excellent durability in use, but are compostable in both hot and cold compost, and are biodegraded even in the marine environment.
“The plastics created from PHA polymers are natural, biodegradable and renewable, and we are pleased to begin their commercial production,” stated G. Allen Andreas, ADM Chairman, Chief Executive and President. “As the world’s demand for petroleum continues to increase,ADM believes that this facility is a positive step towards producing renewable plastics that offer the global marketplace an alternative to traditional petroleum-derived plastics.”
“A broadly useful family of bio-based, biodegradable natural plastics will be commercially available for the first time,” stated Jim Barber, President and CEO of Metabolix. “Consumers and users concerned by the negative impacts of persistent petrochemical plastics on the environment and their dependence on volatile, non-renewable resources from unstable regions will now have a practical alternative.”
In 2004, ADM and Metabolix announced a strategic alliance to commercialize the Metabolix proprietary PHA technology, which is protected by over 130 issued and pending U.S. patents.
PHA natural plastics are a broad and versatile family of polymers that range in properties from rigid to elastic, and they can be converted into molded and thermoformed goods, extruded coatings and film, blown film, fibers, adhesives and many other products. They have excellent shelf life and resistance even to hot liquids, greases and oils, yet they biodegrade in aquatic, marine and soil environments and under anaerobic conditions, such as found in septic systems and municipal waste treatment plants. They can be both hot and cold composted. They are made using proprietary processes developed by Metabolix from renewable and sustainable agricultural raw materials.
Founded in 1992, Metabolix, Inc. uses sophisticated biotechnology to produce environmentally friendly performance materials from renewable resources. Metabolix is the world leader in applying the advanced tools of metabolic engineering and molecular biology to efficiently produce PHA biobased natural plastics in microbial systems and directly in non-food plant crops. For more information, please visit www.metabolix.com .
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) is a world leader in agricultural processing and fermentation technology. ADM is one of the world's largest processors of soybeans, corn, wheat and cocoa. ADM is also a leader in the production of soy meal and oil, ethanol, corn sweeteners and flour. In addition, ADM produces value-added food and feed ingredients. Headquartered in Decatur, Illinois, ADM has over 25,000 employees, more than 250 processing plants and net sales for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2005 of $35.9 billion. Additional information can be found on ADM's Web site at www.adm.com.