Danimer Scientific (NYSE: DNMR), a leading developer and manufacturer of biodegradable materials, today announced it has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to research pennycress oil as a potential feedstock material for producing polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a biodegradable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic.
Danimer Scientific will partner with the University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative starting in July 2021 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.
“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,” said Danimer Scientific Chief Science and Technology Officer Phil Van Trump. “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.
“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,” said Dr. M. David Marks, Professor of Plant and Microbiology at the University of Minnesota. “Partnering with Danimer Scientific on this project is a great opportunity to help manufacturers develop more products based on these crops.”
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% bio-based. All of Danimer Scientific’s biopolymers, including Nodax®, are FDA approved for food contact.
About The Forever Green Initiative
For the state of Minnesota to meet proposed water quality goals, we must incorporate winter annual and perennial crops into agricultural landscapes. The Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota is positioned to realize this goal and more. The Forever Green Initiative is focused on developing new crops to ensure agricultural production to strengthen economies while protecting water and other natural resources. By coupling innovations in crop breeding, agricultural production methods, food science, and utilization technologies, we can add to the productivity and profitability of current agricultural systems and enable major improvements in water quality.
About Danimer Scientific
Danimer is a pioneer in creating more sustainable, more natural ways to make plastic products. For more than a decade, its renewable and sustainable biopolymers have helped create plastic products that are biodegradable and compostable and return to nature instead of polluting our lands and waters. Danimer’s technology can be found in a vast array of plastic end products that people use every day. Applications for its biopolymers include additives, aqueous coatings, fibers, filaments, films and injection-molded articles, among others. Danimer now holds more than 150 granted patents and pending patent applications in more than 20 countries for a range of manufacturing processes and biopolymer formulations.
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