TerraVerdae BioWorks reaches milestone in PHA process scale-up

By Alberta Innovates—Bio Solutions | July 31, 2015

TerraVerdae BioWorks Inc., an industrial biotechnology company developing advanced bioplastics and performance biomaterials from environmentally sustainable sources, recently announced that it has reached a major milestone—creation of its proprietary technology at a commercial scale. It has completed the scale-up optimization of its process to produce biodegradable PHA bioplastics from waste-derived methanol.

Funded by a major grant from Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, TerraVerdae's process uses “green” methanol from, forestry, municipal, agricultural or industrial waste sources, instead of petroleum or sugar-based sources. The bioprocess produces polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a biobased and biodegradable bioplastic that is the starting material for a range of advanced biomaterials utilized in a variety of applications and markets.

“Our C1 based bioprocess represents a paradigm shift in economics and sustainability compared to traditional food or sugar-based bioprocesses,” said William Bardosh, CEO and founder of TerraVerdae BioWorks. “Successfully reaching this milestone is an important step to our ultimate goal of full commercial production of next generation industrial materials that are sustainable and engineered for performance applications.”

The project optimized the process robustness and demonstrated the industrial scale economics of integrated methanol and PHA production to achieve productivity and competitiveness for commercial deployment.

“Our C1 based bioprocess is very adaptable to a variety of high performance biomaterials,” continued Bardosh. “The first of our products using this technology, biodegradable microspheres, are a natural substitute for plastic microbeads commonly used in personal care and cosmetic products like toothpaste and body scrubs. We are also developing a range of additional performance products for the $200 billion global bioproducts market, including biodegradable 3D printing filaments, specialty films and performance coatings.”

“Helping companies develop new chemicals, materials and energy from biomass that spur economic growth inAlberta's renewable resource sectors is one of our prime business objectives. We are pleased to have financially supported TerraVerdae in successfully developing a commercial-scale process to manufacture a variety of biodegradable products from waste-derived methanol,” said Steve Price, CEO and executive director of Bioindustrial Innovation at Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions. “Through investments in companies like TerraVerdae, the Albertan and Canadian bioproducts industry is becoming a global force in this high-growth sector.”