The PHA-polymers platform
The polyhydroxyalkanoates platform consists of a large variety of polymers that are quite different in nature and performance.
One of the simplest forms is poly-3-hydroxybutyrate or P3HB. This polymer occurs in nature and was first discovered in 1888 and first isolated and characterized in 1925. Later one found that micro-organisms produce it from sugars, starches and cellulosic materials and that the polymer was part of the metabolism in plants, animals and humans providing energy and nutrition. However, the molecular weight of this polymer was too low to use it for construction applications, like molded or extruded plastic parts.
During the last two decades of the previous century it was discovered that many different micro-organisms can produce PHA-platform products with different compositions, whereby most of the academic and most of the fundamental work was done on the fermentation and the manufacturing of the polymers. Both polymer composition and molecular weight were the variables leading to new PHA polymer families. Initially too little attention had been paid to the material science aspects of this diverse platform of PHA-polymers that can be manufactured, which also has slowed down the market penetration of these new polymers.
GO!PHA aims to accelerate the PHA-platform market penetration through communication, understanding and market proliferation. Currently more than 40 companies develop at least 9 different PHA-product families and demonstrated performance in at least 20 market segments.