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Business looking at North Dakota for 'biodegradable plastic alternative' polymer plant

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Dave Thompson
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Clean Sustainable Energy Authority director Al Anderson

North Dakota’s Industrial Commission has approved a $4.2 million grant to a company that manufactures a form of bio-degradable plastic, to potentially build a plant in North Dakota, using methane.

The grant comes from the Clean Sustainable Energy Authority.

Newlight Technologies is a California-based company that already makes plastic alternative dinnerware. The company says it's product is Aircarbon, which is a high-performance, carbon-negative PHB.

"These folks have proven that they can make biodegradable polymer, a plastic alternative, that will degrade in a landfill, yet still be able to be used in your dishwasher," said Authority director Al Anderson.

In an interview, Anderson said Newlight has major companies that already sell the product – including Target.

"The key is, they have to get it up to a large enough plant scale, that they can be competitive on a cost basis, and make some money," Anderson said. "That's where we want North Dakota to come in, and be able to have one of the first facilities making bio-degradable plastic out of our methane."

Anderson said Newlight started because of the concern over the amount of plastic being dumped into the ocean.

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