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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Research Project #442420

Research Project: Production of Environmentally Friendly PHA Biopolymers from Waste BioGas Derived from Under-Valued Biomass Feedstocks

Location: Bioproducts Research

Project Number: 2030-41000-067-014-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 16, 2022
End Date: Jun 15, 2027

The objective is to produce environmentally friendly, commercially-viable Poly (HydroxyAlkanoate) (PHA) biopolymers from waste biogas, thus producing PHA blends that can be solvent-cast or thermoformed into consumer products. Commercial validation of the Mango Materials is to be demonstrated at scale using biogas from various sources, including ag-derived feedstocks, municipal solid waste (MSW) or wastewater-derived methane. While use of waste biogas from anaerobic digestion decreases the cost of raw feedstocks required to make Mango Materials’ bioplastics, major hurdles will be addressed, including lowering the cost of polymer isolation.

Jointly, Mango and ARS will maintain and improve methanotrophic microbes, cell lines that produce PHA using methane as a primary source of carbon. They will work to optimize fermentation conditions, polymer separation protocols, and downstream processes, including extrusion into useful resins. Mango and ARS will work jointly to optimize the potential commercial viability of commercial products by developing prototypes using a wide-range of PHA products from an array of feedstocks, exploring the mechanical properties of end-products. This includes measuring PHA rheology, film strength, flexibility, adhesive properties, crystallinity, melting properties, and clarity. The goal is to determine the quality/end-use mechanical properties of the biopolymers produced, which, coupled with market analysis, will be used to optimize the cost-benefits of potential consumer products.