Blue Marble Biomaterials Launches First Zero-Waste Chemical Biorefinery
Press Release June 29, 2011
The first zero-waste chemical biorefinery in the U.S. is now operational. The biorefinery was launched by Blue Marble Biomaterials, a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Marble Energy Corp. and is located in Missoula, Montana. The company uses a mix of proprietary clean technologies to produce natural, bio-based specialty chemicals used primarily in the food, cosmetics and personal care markets. The facility will produce 72 tons of fine chemicals a year and only purified water and pellet fuel for wood-boilers as its “waste”.
This announcement comes on the coattails of President Obama’s announcement on June 24th to invest $500 million in U.S.-based Advanced Manufacturing through the Advanced Manufacturing Program. Blue Marble founders, Kelly Ogilvie and James Stephens, were members of the council that informed the decision to proceed with the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Program. CEO Kelly Ogilvie says, “This biorefinery is an excellent example of how the US can ensure global leadership in advanced manufacturing: we have developed cutting edge technology which combine the fields of biology, chemistry, and industrial manufacturing to produce petroleum replacing chemicals. These products will reinvigorate the meaning of Made in America: more lean, more clean and sourced from our abundant renewable natural resources.”
An emphasis on sustainability in the design of the Blue Marble biorefinery has given the company a competitive edge. By using a wide range of plant feedstocks to produce specialty chemicals, Blue Marble products are neither dependent on the volatile price of petroleum nor on the price of any single feedstock. The company is implementing novel recycling systems to eliminate waste and reduce cost; a photo-bioreactor containing algae purifies wastewater and waste gas from the fermentation system and their solid waste is dried and pelletized for use in wood-burning furnaces and stoves. These processes make the biorefinery a zero-waste facility. The company has future plans to power its facilities using its own waste gas and pelletized solid waste in already on-site gasifiers. According to James Stephens, Chief Science Officer, “Natural systems are the inspiration for our processes. Just as in nature, we see waste as nutritional; in this case, wastewater, waste gas and waste solids are industrial nutrients for both our system and the surrounding economy. We believe this principal is key to reducing not only environmental impact but also operational cost.”
Blue Marble is in several Memoranda of Understanding with clients, including global chemical distributor Sigma-Aldrich, to bring bio-based chemicals to the global market.
Contact for Blue Marble Biomaterials:
Colby Underwood – Co-CEO/Chief Business Officer
(206) 779-1494 mobile