This sounds really good as it expands opportunities for Metabolix:
"Metabolix developed a series of PHA copolymers and demonstrated that they were miscible with PVC resins. Based on miscibility and performance requirements, Metabolix researchers created specific compositions of PHA copolymers to improve plasticization, impact and processing modification of rigid and flexible PVC.
In plasticization, PHA copolymers performed as high molecular weight, readily dispersible plasticizers and enabled formulation of compounds with low additive migration, low extractables, volatile loss and staining.
* In impact modification, PHA rubber copolymers outperformed the best available MBS core/shell impact modifiers and did not compromise PVC transparency or UV stability.
* As a processing aid, the metal-adhering properties of PHA copolymers promoted homogeneous shear melting of PVC particles and prevented overheating and degradation.
* Together, the results demonstrate that these newly developed biobased PHA copolymers can produce significant improvements in the modification and processing of PVC.
“The significant performance benefits PVC gained from blending with PHA copolymers underscores the versatility and value of Metabolix’s PHA technology,” said Oliver Peoples, chief scientific officer and vice president of research at Metabolix. “These developments will allow us to broaden the addressable market opportunity for our materials, beyond our traditional focus on those markets requiring biodegradation.”
Question is, why should any PVC manufacturer/compounder use this technology? It won't make the PVC biodegradable, nor is there any benefit in using a - comparatively costly - polymer compound which is still predominantly non-biobased. And of all plastics, PVC. Pushing vinyl chloride derivatives with PHA? Kissing the sustainability frog does not always make a prince - only in fairy tales.
They will use it because it will give them a much better product without adding a lot of costs. This gives Metabolix one more avenue for sales once the Antibioticos / Metabolix production line is complete. The primary objective there of course is to begin manufacturing of Mirel, but if byproducts can be sold, and/or if C3 or C4 chemicals can eventually be added then the facility could become one gianormous money making machine… Yahoooooo!!!
All good points bear - it remains to be seen if they'll be able to sell this new compound. In terms of cost, the issue is what percentage of blending is being used and what does it add to the marginal cost of the end product.
Also they do have a nicely tunable co-polymer system and it appears they are exploring bringing this into market somehow. I see this as a plus in that they are still pushing for new markets and applications.
Anyway here's the rest of the press release:
Together, the results demonstrate that these newly developed biobased PHA copolymers can produce significant improvements in the modification and processing of PVC.
"The significant performance benefits PVC gained from blending with PHA copolymers underscores the versatility and value of Metabolix's PHA technology," said Oliver Peoples, chief scientific officer and vice president of research at Metabolix. "These developments will allow us to broaden the addressable market opportunity for our materials, beyond our traditional focus on those markets requiring biodegradation."
Metabolix worked closely with AlphaGary, a Massachusetts-based custom compounder of PVC and TPE/TPO materials, to validate PHA polymeric modifiers in PVC.
"We are pleased with what we have seen in these new polymeric PVC modifiers and are beginning to test them in current high-value applications. They combine effective impact modification with good transparency and are made from renewable feedstocks," said Mark Jozokos, global R&D manager at AlphaGary.
"The introduction of new PHA products for use as modifiers in PVC is a significant step in Metabolix's strategy for biopolymers that focuses on high-value applications," noted Bob Engle, vice president business and commercial development, biopolymers at Metabolix. "We plan to manufacture these new PHA products in the 10KTPA facility that Metabolix is establishing at Antibioticos in Leon, Spain. We expect samples of the polymeric modifiers will be available to ship to customers from this facility in early 2013."