Blue Marble Biomaterials Expands Renewable Chemicals Production

Blue Marble Biomaterials

by | Sep 3, 2013

Blue Marble BiomaterialsBlue Marble Biomaterials has completed the purchase of a former GTC Oats in Missoula, Mont., which the company says will become its first large commercial bio-refinery.

The acquisition of this facility fulfills the next stage of the sustainable biochemical manufacturer’s scaling plan to begin offering an expanded portfolio of products to global customers, the company says.

Blue Marble manufacturers renewable specialty chemicals for the food, fragrance, cosmetics and personal care, and other industries. The company’s renewable chemicals are drop-in replacements for petroleum-derived chemicals, which are common ingredients in everyday goods.

In 2011, just 2 percent of all chemicals sold globally were sustainable, says Colby Underwood, Blue Marble Biomaterials co-CEO and chief business officer. By 2025, however, the USDA forecasts the sustainable chemicals figure will jump to 44 percent, Underwood says.

The company, which was founded in Seattle and based in Missoula, says the increased production capacity of its new facility — plus others planned for the future — will help supply this demand for biochemicals.

The GTC Oats facility was previously a wet extraction processing plant for the creation of food ingredients.

The purchase includes 3.81 acres of land, a 19,000 square foot building complex, and parking stalls for more than 100 employees. The building retrofits include systems that will allow for greater energy efficiency and enable the site to be a showcase for the company’s zero-waste efforts, Blue Marble says.

The site purchase comes as Blue Marble begins closing a $15 million debt financing deal through the USCIS EB-5 Program, created by Congress to stimulate economic activity and create jobs. Blue Marble says it’s one of the first biotechnology companies to take advantage of the program and expects to create more than 300 direct and indirect jobs in the Missoula area as a result of the financing and recent site purchase.

Last year Anheuser-Busch and Blue Marble Biomaterials signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a bio-refinery pilot at one of the brewer’s North American facilities. The project will use Blue Marble technology to convert spent grains and biogas from the brewing process into chemicals that can be used in other applications, such as food, cosmetics and personal care products.


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