Green Matter: Methane feedstock of the future says NatureWorks CEO Verbruggen

NatureWorks' recent announcement that it had entered into an exclusive, multi-year collaboration with Calysta Energy to research and develop a practical, world-scale production process for fermenting methane into lactic acid, created "quite a stir," NatureWorks CEO Marc Verbruggen told PlasticsToday.

"Customers started immediately wanting to know when it would be available, and where they could purchase it," he said during an interview at the Biobased Performance Materials symposium (Wageningen, Netherlands, June 27). "Obviously, we're nowhere close to production yet. But the idea is a very exciting one, which is why we decided to make the announcement at such an early stage."

NatureWorks is a green commodity plastics player, aiming to compete on cost and performance. Verbruggen: "About 18 months ago, we started examining possible ways to intrinsically lower the feedstock cost of our Ingeo material. Ultimately, after exploring 30 to 40 different technologies, including cellulosics, we started looking at a technology that is currently being developed: the use of greenhouse gas—in this case, methane—as a renewable, low-cost feedstock."...

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