Materials | 1 MINUTE READ

Danimer Receives Innovation Research Grant to Support Biodegradable PHA Plastic Solutions

Project to be conducted with University of Minnesota’s ForeverGreen Initiative to investigate pennycress oil in production of PHA for single-use products.


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Manufacturer of Nodax polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biodegradable bioplastics Danimer Scientific has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to research pennycress oil as a potential feedstock material.

Danimer will partner with the University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative starting this July to research the potential for using pennycress oil in producing the company’s Nodax biodegradable solution. The project will help determine whether pennycress oil can serve as a viable alternative to supplement the company’s current use of canola oil as a feedstock. Researchers will also compare pennycress oil sourced from wildtype seeds with plants domesticated as winter cover crops. Results will guide the development of commercial models for using pennycress oil to produce PHA, a material manufacturers need to make biodegradable drinking straws, cutlery, packaging and other single-use products.


Danimer Scientific gets grant to explore pennycress oil for production of PHA


Said Danimer Scientific chief science & technology officer Phil Van Trump, “An important differentiator of PHA is that it can be produced using renewable and sustainable products such as different kinds of plant oils and sugars, in place of the fossil fuels used to produce traditional plastic. We are excited about the potential of pennycress oil for our manufacturing process. Our partners at the Forever Green Initiative are the leading experts on this crop, and we are grateful to have their knowledge and expertise on this project. This ultimately will help us further our mission of reducing the impacts of plastics waste with renewable and biodegradable alternatives.”

The initiative’s recent work has led to the identification of various traits in field pennycress that enabled researchers to domesticate the plant without using genetic engineering. Said Dr. M. David Marks, professor of plant & microbiology at the University of Minnesota, “We are dedicated to developing winter hardy cover crops that can fit within current growing cycles, and one of the most effective ways we can support farmers growing these crops is to facilitate reliable economic opportunities. Partnering with Danimer Scientific on this project is a great opportunity to help manufacturers develop more products based on these crops.”

As previously reported, Danimer Scientific’s Nodax possesses six TUV AUSTRIA certifications of industrial and home compostability, is biodegradable in soil, fresh water and marine environments and is 100% biobased. All of Danimer Scientific’s biopolymers, including Nodax, are FDA approved for food contact.