New transaction in the field of bioplastics. Cereplast, a leading US manufacturer of proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable bioplastics, that since 1996 has the exclusive North American distribution rights to Novamont’s Mater-Bi resins, has announced the incorporation of a new wholly owned subsidiary, Algaeplast, Inc.
Algaeplast’ s focus will be the development and manufacture of algae-based bioplastics. Cereplast has been a pioneer in algae-based plastics, helping to bring the first products made from Cereplast Algae Bioplastics grades to market in 2011, and with the recent commercialization of Biopropylene 109D in December of 2012.
Cereplast introduced the concept in late 2009, with a target of reaching a bioplastic made from 50% algae bio-content. Algaeplast’s ultimate goal is to bring to market new polymers made from 100% algae content. Recently, the Company commercialized small quantities of Biopropylene 109D, a compound with 20% post-industrial algae biomatter. The research and development team is currently developing a grade with a higher percentage of algae bio-content. Based on customer interest, the company has determined that the demand for bioplastics made from algae is significant, and therefore has created Algaeplast, which will focus on this new sector. Algaeplast has been created to develop a new monomer and polymers made from algae.
Mr. Frederic Scheer, chairman and Ceo of Cereplast, stated, “With recent developments made in the algae-to-oil process, the company believes it will reach its goal within less than 5 years, either solely or in partnership with other significant players in the field.”
Recently, Cereplast announced that it uses a post-industrial process that significantly reduces the odor that is normally inherent to algae biomatter, eliminating customer concerns about working with the material. Additionally, the company uses algae biomass byproducts from algae biofuels and nutritionals that do not rely on the commercialization of biofuel production. These advancements fostered the commercialization of the Cereplast Algae Bioplastics product line earlier than expected.
Mr. Scheer added, “We began developing algae-based bioplastics in 2008, have made several breakthroughs since, and are very close to reaching our original goal of 50% algae bio-content. We continue to receive a lot of interest in this material for a variety of applications and are committed to further developing this new category of plastic. We foresee significant revenue potential. The next frontier for Algaeplast is to generate new polymers that are made with 100% algae bio-content, and based on our current level of knowledge, we anticipate reaching that goal within the next five years. The first milestone will be to increase the level of algae bio-content from 20% post-industrial algae biomatter to 50%, and this next step is imminent. Achieving these goals will require additional research, development and partnerships, and we have a very clear understanding of what needs to be done to reach this goal. As such, we felt that it was important to segregate this activity from the development of our starch-based bioplastic grades, and create Algaeplast.”
Cereplast opened a European headquarters in Bönen, Germany, to support rapid expansion of its European operations in 2011. It also bought a 120,000-square-foot building (former Ferro Italia) in Assisi, Italy, in the same year, with the intention of making it a bioresin production plant in 2012. The firm’s struggles have delayed those plans for the building, which is being used as a warehouse. Mr. Scheer said if sales recover the site could be used for bioresin production sometime during 2014.