Saturday, August 16, 2008

Metabolix creates bioplastic from switchgrass, Al Gore bailed months ago. (ADM; MBLX)

Mr. Gore's Generation Investment Management had a 275,000 share position as of their 12/31/07 13F filing but were totally out of it by the time they filed their first quarter report. A good call on the stock as it dropped from $23.80 to $13.07, a 45% loss.

From Biomass Magazine:
Once upon a time, the one word that expressed economic opportunity was plastics, at least in the iconic movie, The Graduate. Today that word might be bioplastics. While bacteria have been genetically engineered to produce bioplastics for many years, production may soon be as easy as watching the grass grow.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Metabolix Inc. has created a variety of switchgrass that produces significant amounts of polyhydroxyalkanolate (PHA) bioplastics in leaf tissues. The company incorporated multiple genes into the switchgrass genome resulting in a new functional multi-gene pathway in switchgrass. Metabolix recently completed greenhouse trials showing that economically significant amounts of PHA and biomass could be produced by its new varieties....MORE

HT: Todd Sullivan's Value Plays who comments:
...The Company’s second technology platform, which is in an early stage, is a biomass biorefinery system using plant crops to co-produce both bioplastics and bioenergy. The Company is focused on developing entire production systems from gene to end. To exploit its first technology platform, the Company is working with ADM to build the Commercial Manufacturing Facility in Clinton, Iowa. This is also the home of ADM's new ethanol expansion. Coincidence?

ADM currently hold 5.4% of Metabolix's outstanding shares.

The news here is that switchgrass is becoming commercially viable. It will be a dirt cheap input for bioplastics and eventually biofuels.