Danimer Scientific, a next-generation bioplastics company in the US, has completed the expansion work on its demonstration plant in Rochester, New York. 

This strategic move is set to enhance the testing capabilities for Rinnovo polymers, which are a type of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthesised using a thermocatalytic process. 

Rinnovo polymers offer various properties and cost advantages over traditional PHA materials produced using fermentation processes, the company said.  

The Rinnovo product platform is primarily known for its enhanced barrier properties, increased elongation, and lower melting temperature. 

It is expected to incur lower capital costs for future commercial-capacity build-outs compared to conventional fermentation-based methods for the production of other types of PHA. 

Danimer said that the latest expansion has significantly increased the plant’s annual production capacity to 20 tonnes (t), when operated continuously, marking around a 20-fold increase from the previous manufacturing capacity.  

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The Rochester demonstration plant’s expansion includes the installation of a larger carbonylation reactor, three additional fractional distillation towers, an upscaled polymerisation reactor, and a new polymer drying unit.  

Danimer’s expanded facility also includes improved controls and data collection systems. 

This scale-up is a testament to the company’s commitment to advancing biodegradable material technology and reducing the environmental impact of plastics. 

Danimer CEO Stephen Croskrey said: “We are thrilled to have the Rinnovo demonstration plant expansion completed, allowing us to accelerate our efforts to gain offtake commitments for this exciting polymer platform.  

“Further, I would like to commend the entire Danimer team in Rochester for their efforts to bring the facility on track safely and within budget.” 

In 2021, Danimer completed the acquisition of Novomer, a biodegradable polymer producer that operated a pilot plant in Rochester.