Plastic from captured GHG gets market boost

September 2015

AirCarbon, a PHA-based thermoplastic produced by Newlight Technologies and made from harnessing greenhouse gas, will be marketed by Vinmar International, the two companies announced after signing an agreement to that effect.

Newlight Technologies, a biotechnology company uses an advanced biological carbon capture technology to produce sustainable materials. The AirCarbon thermopastic is made from greenhouse gas and is used and being developed for use in a wide range of products, including films, caps and closures, furniture, electronics accessories, bottles and other applications.

Newlight produces AirCarbon by combining a breakthrough high-yield biocatalyst with air and captured methane-based greenhouse gas emissions to produce a bio-based AirCarbon thermoplastic material that is cost competitive with petroleum-derived thermoplastics. 

The Vinmar contract provides for the sale of 100 per cent of AirCarbon PHA from Newlight›s planned 50 million pound per year production facility for 20 years. The contract will also cover 100 per cent of the output from a 300 million pound per year AirCarbon production facility and a 600 million pound per year AirCarbon production facility for a total of up to 19 billion pounds over 20 years.

“This contract launches AirCarbon to world-scale volume, and sets Newlight on a path to accomplishing its founding goal of changing how the world makes materials, by harnessing greenhouse gas as a resource,” said Mark Herrema, Newlight CEO and co-founder, “With this agreement, we are poised to participate in the growing demand for sustainable materials with a material made by capturing carbon that would otherwise become part of the air.”

“Vinmar is excited to be a part of the growth and development of Newlight›s AirCarbon PHA,” said Kartik Mehta, a senior executive of Vinmar. “Our long-term off-take contract with Newlight reflects the potential we see for AirCarbon. Demand for plastics will continue to grow globally and AirCarbon addresses an important need in the market. We believe Newlight’s advanced high-yield technology, unique cost structure, and commercial-scale operations position AirCarbon to effectively compete in the market on price and performance, allowing us to market AirCarbon PHA to a broad range of customers,” he added.

Vinmar International is a leading marketer and distributor of chemicals with sales of over $4.5 billion in 2014 and annual volumes that exceeded 6.5 billion pounds of petrochemicals. With over 450 staff in 35 countries, Vinmar possesses the global presence and experience needed to cost effectively accelerate development of the growing market for AirCarbon. This in turn will allow Newlight›s commercial team to focus on production capacity expansion, high margin derivatives, key accounts, and joint technology and application development.

Newlight is operating the world’s first commercial-scale greenhouse gas-to-AirCarbon manufacturing facility, using air and biogas to produce materials used in the production of film packaging, rigid furniture, electronics accessories, caps, and a variety of other products. Following commercialisation in 2013, AirCarbon was named “Biomaterial of the Year” by the Nova Institute in 2013, “one of the 100 most technologically significant innovations of the year” by R&D Magazine in 2013, and 2014 “Innovation of the Year” by Popular Science.

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