Rotary Club gets an update on Danimer Scientific projects

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Steve Croskrey, CEO of Danimer Scientific, gave a presentation to Bainbridge Rotary on Tuesday, giving first some background information about the company before telling the accomplishments of the last two years.

He made a case for the use of biodegradable plastic, rather than petroleum based plastic. One compelling statement was that the plastic bag you take your groceries home in works for about 15 minutes, but takes centuries to break down. He indicated many countries are enacting legislation to protect the world from plastic waste, and companies are being pressured by government regulations to prevent the production of Styrofoam—all because of the pollution it creates.

He said the core of Danimer today is using a technology that makes a plastic based on cornstarch and corn sugars.  He said the challenge is to make the plastic work as well as the petroleum based plastic, and that is what they are doing. The benefit is that it is renewable and has a short lifespan. It takes high heat and moisture to break down.

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The next generation is to create a fully biodegradable plastic based on canola oil, that if it is fed bacteria and buried in the back yard, it will be gone in two to three months.

Other industries who know what Danimer does have entered into business relationships with them.

One of those better-known customers is Pepsico. He said it is difficult to get the customer secured, as they go through years of diligent trials, but once you get the customer, he said they tend to remain.

The company changed it’s name over the last year.

At first there were two different divisions, Danimer and Meridian, and when they merged the name was changed to MHG. That is no longer the name. Croskrey said the name by which they are now known is Danimer Scientific.

The company needed to expand. It was necessary to have the increased capacity to produce whole truck loads of product at once. That expansion was completed last year, adding ten new jobs.

The goal is to build a commercial plant, of which they are about three years away, in order to be competitive in the field. A large confidential customer has expressed interest after reading about the relationship with Pepsico.” Danimer is working with them and Croskrey said, “We will build a plant for them, using some of our equipment. They will pay for it, and then they will pay us to run it for several years.”

It will be a six to ten million dollar project, requiring 12 months to complete. It would add 25 employees. The agreement  is expected it to be closed by the end of February, and there will eventually be a press release.

Because of the growth of the company, they are expanding their office, lab and extrusion capacity. “We are achieving spectacular revenue growth and adding global brand customers.”

In the year 2015, Danimer was a $15 million dollar business with 61 employees. In 2017 it was $39 million with 78 employees.

In answer to a question as to where the new plant will be built, Croskrey replied , “The intent is to build it right here.”