A Georgia company has harvested its first crop of canola to make into biopolymers. According to Meredian, Inc. the crop will be turned into the raw materials used to make a wide range of completely biodegradable plastic products from local fields.
The canola oil used in Meredian’s production is the single most important, yet costly factor in their manufacturing process. While theoretically, the company can use any plant derived oil to convert carbon into biopolymers, canola is the perfect option because it possesses the ability to be grown locally, which cuts down on unnecessary and costly transportation steps. Growing locally stimulates Georgia’s economy, while allowing Meredian to continue their mission of manufacturing biopolymers from renewable, natural resources that equal or exceed petroleum-based plastics in price and performance.
“We are thrilled about the successful harvest of our pilot canola fields,” said Paul Pereira, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors at Meredian, Inc. “The first harvest marks a major milestone in meeting the full scale needs of this facility.”
Currently, Meredian Inc. is repurposing a one-million square foot facility where the equipment will clean and crush canola seeds into oil by a solvent and toxin-free, cold press process. Until crushing equipment is installed, the 850,000 pounds of seeds from the harvest will be stored at Meredian. Once the equipment is installed, the majority of the seeds recently harvested will be crushed to produce oil for the current PHA production needs.
Meredian expects next year they’ll be using canola from 10,000 to 15,000 acres fields to be planted this fall. Eventually, the company wants about 100,000 acres to grow enough canola to supply its 60 million pound fermentation facility.