This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 29, 2006

ADM and Metabolix to Build Biobased Plastics Plant in Iowa

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Metabolix, Inc. announced in mid-March that they plan to build a chemical plant in Clinton, Iowa, to produce plastics from cornstarch. The plant will initially produce 50,000 tons of biobased plastic per year and is expected to be operating by mid-2008. It will be located next to ADM's existing wet corn mill, which will provide the raw material for the plastics plant. According to ADM, the plastics produced at the plant will range in properties from rigid to elastic and could potentially be converted into coatings, films, fibers, adhesives, and a variety of molded and thermoformed products. See the ADM press release.

Biobased products replace petroleum-based products with chemicals and materials produced from agricultural resources. The federal government has recognized the importance of using more biobased products, and has placed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in charge of a program to encourage federal agencies to buy biobased products. In early March, the USDA designated six classes of products for which federal agencies must consider buying biobased products, including diesel fuel additives; hydraulic fluids for mobile equipment; penetrating lubricants; roof coatings; water tank coatings; and bedding, bed linens, and towels. See the USDA press release and the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program Web site.