A California company said it is scaling up production of plastics made by combining greenhouse gases and oxygen.
Newlight Technologies of Irvine, Calif., announced Oct. 11 it is adding 100,000 pounds of annual capacity to its gas-to-plastics production line. It claims the process converts air and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane to high-performance bioplastics that cost less than oil-based plastics.
The company said its technology produces polymers that can compete with polypropylene, polyethylene, ABS and thermoplastic polyurethanes. The patented system relies on high biocatalyst-to-polymer efficiency, an order of magnitude in cost reductions in downstream processing, and a proprietary polymer function to produce polyhydroxy alkanaote materials competitive with oil-based plastics.
“We have been working to bring our technology to commodity scale since 2003, so it is exciting for us as our growth curve accelerates,” said Newlight technical officer Kenton Kimmel in a news release. Kimmel and Mark Herrema said they founded the firm in 2003 out of Princeton University and Northwestern University.
The partners claim it can use methane from wastewater treatment, landfills and power plants.
If proved commercially, the system would be a highly sustainable route to plastics that compete with conventionally made polymers.
Newlight said it plans to add millions of pounds of new capacity in the medium term. Customers are using its products in furniture parts, storage containers and packaging, it said.