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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1402

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1402

Report Going back to the

Report Going back to the roots and with Dr. Noda as the inventor, Meredian’s PHA resins will be marketed under the existing established brand name Nodax. Just recently Meredian installed five reactors or fermentation vessels, each representing 2,700 tonnes (6 million lbs) of annual capacity (see photo). Another five reactors of the same size will be installed shortly. These reactors can now be started up one by one, as client projects (see below) come on stream and need the material. This ramping up results then in a total nameplate capacity of the Bainbridge plant of eventually 27,000 tonnes (60 million lbs), thus being the world’s largest production facility for mcl-PHAs. The first five reactors PHA inside the cell of the bacteria (© FELMI-ZFE) Canola Oil Production In the greater area of the border triangle of Florida, Georgia and Alabama farmers usually grow cotton, sweet corn, soybeans, and peanuts. Now, with the idea of producing PHA in Bainbridge, farmers in this area are going to grow canola as an additional crop. This is possible, due to the mild climate in that region. Canola (a plant related to rape seed) can be grown as a winter crop. (i.e. canola is sown in November and harvested in April). A huge advantage is that the farmers can use existing harvesting machinery that they also use for corn and soy. This allows for bringing only the seeds home from the fields. All green residue stays on the fields and is being plowed under as a nutrient for the next growing season. During the visit, bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke to Greg Calhoun, farmer and owner/founder of the company Green Circle Farm. Greg farms 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) himself and his idea is to grow GMO free canola, in order to get GMO free canola oil and GMO free canola cake. The cake is the leftover after pressing the oil out of the seeds and is used as cattle feed. Greg: “There is about 42% oil in the canola seed, and we get 38% out just with cold pressing.” And Blake Lindsey adds, “We do not utilize solvents such as hexane in our oil seed crushing process.” This clean process is one more reason why the oil as well as the cake is of a very special quality. Greg Calhoun is more or less the driving force in initiating canola farming in the area and thus creating additional income for the farmers. Greg explains that there is an average harvest of about 460 kg of canola seed from one hectare (2.500 lbs per acre) of land. So for the nameplate capacity of the Bainbridge PHA plant of 27,000 tonnes (60 million lbs) a total area of 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) is needed. This is approximately the size of the city of Vienna/Austria. This capacity is currently being set up. Greg is growing Canola on 240 hectares (600 acres) right now, but the whole harvest will be used as seeds for the next growing season. In the end, the farmers will produce more canola than is needed for Meredian. So they can sell canola oil to the open market as well. Once there is enough canola available for the production of oil and eventually PHA, this canola is being pressed to oil in an oil mill on the Meredian premises. The oil mill will be operated by the company AgroCrush, the third company of the Meredian Holdings Group. However, until enough locally grown canola is available, the company will buy vegetable oils in the open market. Meredian Holdings Group So it is all one continuous process: From the GMO-free agricultural product through the oil crushing which produces vegetable oil from the canola seeds 24 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/14] Vol. 9

Report Left to right: Paul Pereira, Greg Calhoun, Blake Lindsey standing in the one of the first fields of 240 hectares to grow Canola seeds. conference may 2015 amsterdam — through the wet side where the PHA is produced by fermentation — to the dry side where the extracted PHA powder is compounded through reactive extrusion into the finished customized products as per the client’s specification. The production expertise of the canola oil lies in the hands the AgroCrush, the PHA manufacturing of the biopolymer lies in the microbiology and innovative platform of Meredian and the compounding expertise lies in the reactive extrusion process residing at DaniMer. Under the roof of the new Meredian Holdings Group, Inc., where these three companies form a fully integrated system to produce processable, customized bioplastic resins. “The nexus of our success is the innovative platform that we have developed over the last ten years,” says Paul Pereira. “This is the basis for what we call our client incubation model. We sign client R&D contracts and take the customers from conceptualization of their desired product (bottles, containers, films and others with certain properties etc.) through lab trials, production trials to market trials and eventually to market entry.” By now, quite a number of such development projects have been performed and are just about to be launched to the market. While the Meredian projects and customers remain confidential, we should expect further updates and market announcements from a number of large global brand owners in the coming months, according to Blake Lindsey. “Even as our Bainbridge plant comes online when fully up and running has a total capacity of 27,000 tonnes (60 million lbs), it can only serve to supply the material for the market entry, explains Paul Pereira. “If we wanted to replace one percent of the world’s plastic demand of 300 million tonnes (660 billion lbs) per year, this would mean we’d need 100 plants the size of this one,” he says. Meredian is poised to pursue several growth paths including evaluation of a model of licensing and royalty agreements enabling others to build up the necessary capacities. » Packaging is necessary. » Packaging protects the precious goods during transport and storage. » Packaging conveys important messages to the consumer. » Good packaging helps to increase the shelf life. BUT: Packaging does not necessarily need to be made from petroleum based plastics. biobased packaging » is packaging made from mother nature‘s gifts. » is packaging made from renewable resources. » is packaging made from biobased plastics, from plant residues such as palm leaves or bagasse. » offers incredible opportunities. biobased packaging » is the new conference by bioplasticsMAGAZINE in May 2015 ... in Amsterdam ... stay tuned ... www.biobased-packaging.info www.meredianpha.com organized by bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/14] Vol. 9 25

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