Tier I Magna International Inc. (Aurora, ON) and Italian intellectual property company bio-on (Bologna, Italy) have signed a cooperation agreement to start exclusive R&D activities on the use of bio plastics for the automotive industry.
bio-on has developed a synthetic route to polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) that uses naturally occurring bacteria which feed off sugar beet by-products. In the process of fermentation, the material is turned PHA plastic which is fully biodegradable in water and soil and could provide alternatives to conventional plastics for the automotive industry.
Current suppliers of PHA resin include Metabolix (Cambridge, MA), SZ Ecomann Biotechnology (Shenzhen, China), and Tianjin GreenBio Materials (China). Metabolix recently introduced a transparent compostable film, and it now also offers a series of color masterbatches that are based on biopolymers as carrier materials. The company is also introducing a material for biodegradable containers.