Danimer Scientific Receives United Soybean Board Grant to Support Biodegradable Plastic Production

·3-min read

Project to investigate the use of high-oleic soybean oil in the production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a biodegradable alternative to traditional petrochemical plastic

Danimer Scientific, a leading developer and manufacturer of biodegradable materials, today announced that the United Soybean Board has awarded the company a $350,000 grant to investigate the use of high-oleic soybean oil (HOSO) in the production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a biodegradable alternative to traditional petrochemical plastic.

The goal of the year-long project is to develop a practical model for using HOSO to manufacture sustainable biopolymers for use in products such as drinking straws, water bottles, flexible film packaging, disposable cutlery and more.

"High-oleic soybean oil is produced here in the U.S., which would make it an ideal and cost-effective carbon source for the manufacture of our biodegradable polymers," said Phil Van Trump, CTO of Danimer Scientific. "Thanks to the support of the United Soybean Board, we now have the ability to determine if HOSO is a viable solution to support commercial production of our polymers. Ultimately, this will empower us to meet ever-growing global demand for eco-friendly solutions to the world’s plastic pollution crisis."

PHA was verified as an eco-friendly alternative to petrochemical plastics by the University of Georgia (UGA) and the UGA New Materials Institute in a 2018 study. The material reliably degrades without leaving behind harmful microplastics in a wide range of environments, including home compost units, landfills and oceans.

"The problems surrounding plastic waste are growing worse over time, so we need collaborative approaches between different industries to get ahead of the curve as quickly as possible," said Carol Leggett, PhD, Director of Microbiology at Danimer Scientific. "Working with the United Soybean Board is a fantastic opportunity to learn from their expertise and investigate the potential for HOSO to drive PHA production as efficiently as possible."

High-oleic soybeans are grown exclusively in the U.S., and the oil produced from the crop provides increased functionality and improved shelf life for applications across the food and manufacturing industries. United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy.

"The United Soybean Board is very excited to be working with Danimer Scientific as they evaluate high-oleic soybean oil for biodegradable plastic production," said United Soybean Board farmer-director Belinda Burrier, who grows high-oleic soybeans in Maryland. "HOSO is a U.S. sourced, sustainable, and highly functional raw material, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Danimer to help leverage these benefits in their production process."

Danimer Scientific’s Nodax™ PHA possesses seven TÜV AUSTRIA certifications and statements of industrial and home compostability, is biodegradable in anaerobic conditions, soil, freshwater and marine environments and is 100% bio based. All of Danimer Scientific’s biopolymers, including its Nodax™ PHA, are FDA approved for food contact.

For more information on Danimer Scientific, visit www.DanimerScientific.com.

About Danimer Scientific

Danimer Scientific is a pioneer in creating more sustainable, more natural ways to make plastic products. For more than a decade, our renewable and sustainable biopolymers have helped create plastic products that are biodegradable and compostable. They return to nature instead of polluting our lands and waters. Our technology can be found in a vast array of plastic end products that people use every day. Applications for our biopolymers include additives, aqueous coatings, fibers, filaments, films, hot-melt adhesives and injection-molded articles, among others. We now hold more than 150 patents in more than 20 countries for a range of manufacturing processes and biopolymer formulations. For more information, visit www.DanimerScientific.com.

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