Conventional C4 and C3 chemicals are the fundamental building blocks of key segments of the industrial chemical industry valued at more than $10 billion annually. These conventional chemicals are used in a broad range of industrial and consumer products. This market is potentially commercially and technologically attractive for the development and deployment of our PHA fermentation and "FAST" (fast-acting, selective thermolysis) recovery technologies.
Advances in technology have consistently led the chemicals industry to leverage new feedstocks that provide a cost advantage while delivering a sustainable chemical product. Today, the vast majority of industrial chemicals are produced with fossil fuel-based feedstocks. With the volatility of petroleum-based feedstocks and increasing demand from consumers and brand owners for more sustainable products, we believe that the renewable routes being developed today will result in a new category of renewable industrial chemicals with a robust trajectory of growth.
Metabolix’s PHA technology is a unique platform for producing biobased chemicals. Our technology is applicable across the range of C2 (two-carbon) to C6 (six-carbon) chemicals. Our focus initially is on C4 and C3 chemicals. We have developed proprietary microbial strains and fermentation technology to produce biopolymer and a novel recovery process we call FAST to convert biopolymer into the target chemical using heat.
Metabolix is currently concentrating our resources on the development of our biopolymers business. As a result, we have suspended our efforts in the development of biobased chemicals. We have developed important technology in this area, and may, at some time in the future, pursue strategic alliances to bring our biobased industrial chemicals into commercial production.