Micromidas to Test Sludge-to-Plastic Tech
By Martin LaMonica
Later this year, start-up Micromidas plans to test how well an army of microbes can convert sludge from wastewater treatment plants into a biodegradable plastic.
The Sacramento, Calif.-based company, which raised $3.6 million last month in series A venture funding, expects to start pilot testing a waste-to-plastic machine at its labs within a month. Then in about five months it hopes to take that biorefinery, which can fit in a shipping container, to a wastewater treatment plant, said CEO and founder John Bissell.
Because it’s still early in development, the company doesn’t know how much the system will cost compared to making the plastic polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) from glucose or fructose. But if successful, the system will be valuable to wastewater treatment facilities where as much as 40 percent of operating costs stem from handling sewage sludge, Bissell said.
Micromidas is one of a number of companies trying to create something valuable from waste. In another example, Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies on Thursday is opening a facility to convert wastewater into a fertilizer, which reduces the amount of nutrient run-off to waterways.
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