I was also able to talk to the CEO and president of Massachusetts-based bioscience company Metabolix and got some nice updates of the company's activities not only about their joint bioplastic venture Telles but also about their industrial chemicals and crop technology developments.
The blog already talked about Telles' recent start-up of its 110m lb/year Clinton, Iowa PHA-based resins plant. Here are some of the other salient points of the meeting and then watch my video interview with Rick Eno as he talked about last year's accomplishments and this year's expectations. Sorry about the slight shakiness to the video as I'm not yet proficient in this form of interview = )
- The company expects to be selling food contact injection molding products such as cutlery in second quarter this year; and film and thermoforming products such as coffee lids, yogurt cups, and storage bags in the second half of the year.
- Pricing range of their Mirel plastic is between $2.25/lb and $2.75/lb. Eno says unique combination of biodegradability, bio-based sourcing and performance properties allow premium pricing relative to most petroleum-based plastics.
- The Clinton site is still being optimized to improve operational efficiency. The site is also being developed to include next generation microbial streams, recovery technologies and product enhancements.
- In their industrial chemicals business, Eno says they are starting to scale up their C4 chemicals development first focusing on proladones (trying to get more information on this but all I get from google is suppositories....hmmm). Eno says Metabolix is working to optimize its fermentation process for C4 chemicals and is now in exploratory talks with potential partners.
- Metabolix is also looking to produce fermentation-based C3 and C5 chemicals.
- Metabolix expects increasing yields of PHA this year being developed in crops such as switchgrass, sugarcane and oilseeds. Eno estimates having commercially viable crops in field trials with intuitive growth in the next two years.
- Here's a nice equation Eno gave during his presentation at the conference: a 7.5% PHA in switchgrass = 100m lb polymer = $250m/year potential revenue; a 7.5% PHA in switchgrass = 45m gal biofuel = $90m/year potential revenue