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. With the size and breadth of this market, Metabolix views this market as commercially and technologically attractive for the development and deployment of our PHA fermentation and "FAST" (fast-acting, selective thermolysis) recovery technologies.
We recently achieved three technical milestones in our biobased chemicals program. We demonstrated a process to efficiently recover ultra-high purity GBL from fermentation broth and showed that our C4 technology can be adapted to produce deuterated bio-GBL. We also demonstrated that our C3 and C4 microbial strains and fermentation processes are suitable for production of biobased chemicals based on second generation feedstocks, or cellulosic sugars.
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.
Our goal is to produce renewable chemicals; industrial chemicals from renewable feedstocks as high value replacements for petroleum-based products.