PHA manufacturer Danimer Scientific and petrochemical Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) announced they will explore the development and commercialisation of cast extrusion films, blown extrusion films, injection and rotational moulded parts using Rinnovo polymers.
Rinnovo polymers are a type of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthesized from lactones. The lactone monomers are produced using Novo22 catalyst technology, originally developed by Novomer, which Danimer acquired in 2021. The polymers are aliphatic polyesters that can be used as an alternative to polyolefins including PE, PP, and PET.
PHAs like Rinnovo are biosynthesized by a bacterium fed by a renewable carbon source. They are fully biodegradable in soil or water, but one of the issues that has long hindered attempts to scale up PHA production is the cost of the carbon source metabolised by the microorganisms, which has made traditional methods for PHAs production extremely expensive. Many PHA manufacturers rely on high-cost substrates such as pure sugars, fats, and animal or vegetable protein. As a result, the cost of the carbon source can contribute to up to 60% of the overall cost of PHA production.
Through their partnership, Danimer and CPChem will scale up the production of Rinnovo polymers in high-volume applications by using CPChem’s loop slurry reactor design to develop a continuous reactor system in Rinnovo’s manufacturing process.
“CPChem’s Research and Technology lab in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, is a premier facility staffed with world-class talent that we believe will accelerate the path toward adoption of Rinnovo materials in high-volume applications that will assist in lowering the cost to serve key markets,” said Stephen E. Croskrey, chief executive officer of Danimer.
CPChem’s MarTech process technology, first commercialised in 1961, purportedly delivers reliable, high-reactor throughput while minimising capital expense, operating costs, and environmental impact.