Metabolix (Cambridge, MA ) has extended PHA technology into the amorphous region. The company is launching a new line of amorphous polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) grades to be used as performance additives for PVC and PLA. The new materials are produced at a U.S. pilot plant, which is currently being expanded in order, as Johan van Walsem, Metabolix’s Chief Operating Officer commented, “to support existing customers and open new market development opportunities in our target application spaces.” Metabolix says that it will ramp up production to 600,000 pounds annual nameplate capacity over the course of 2016.
Amorphous PHA (a-PHA) is a softer and more rubbery (low glass transition temperature or Tg) version of PHA that offers a fundamentally different performance profile from crystalline forms of PHA. Metabolix’s a-PHA is produced by fermentation and extracted using a patented solvent recovery process.