ADM, Spiber partner on production of bio-based polymers

ADM will produce Brewed Protein polymers in U.S. using plant-based dextrose and ship them to Spiber's downstream facilities to be processed into array of materials.

October 7, 2020

3 Min Read
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Archer Daniels Midland

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Spiber Inc. announced an agreement to expand the production of Spiber's innovative Brewed Protein polymers for use in apparel and other consumer products.

The collaboration will combine Spiber's cutting-edge structural protein fermentation technology with ADM's expertise in large-scale fermentation technologies, engineering, operations and extensive agricultural supply chain.

The Brewed Protein polymers will be produced by ADM in the U.S. using plant-based dextrose as a feedstock and then shipped to Spiber's downstream facilities, where they will be processed into an array of materials — primarily fibers — for use in a variety of applications such as apparel, lightweight auto parts, high-performance foams and more. Brewed Protein polymers will play a critical role in expanding the range of plant-based, sustainable alternative materials.

"Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable innovation in the products they purchase, and we're excited to partner with Spiber to help bring this leading-edge technology to market,” said Ian Pinner, ADM chief strategy and innovation officer and president of the Health & Wellness division.

“From our partnerships with farmers and our efficient origination network to our ability to provide sustainably sourced feedstocks from nature to our expertise in fermentation and ability to scale technology to commercial production, our end-to-end capabilities give us a substantial leadership position in this fast-growing market,” Pinner continued. “Across ADM, we are creating value for customers and shareholders alike by finding innovative, exciting ways to use our array of plant-based products. From alternative proteins to substitutes for petroleum-based plastics, we're excited to lead in the creation of whole new generations of in-demand, sustainable products.”

Kazuhide Sekiyama, Spiber co-founder, director and representative executive officer, said, “After more than a year of working closely with ADM, we are pleased to take our partnership to the next level and expand Spiber's production to the U.S. ADM has an amazing team, providing significant value for our business not only through its fermentation expertise but also as a provider of quality, corn-based raw materials used in our process.

“This collaboration takes us to a new phase in the commercialization of Spiber's materials — one in which Brewed Protein will be more widely available and at costs suitable for broader markets,” Sekiyama continued. “Proteins represent the pinnacle material platform evolved and adopted by life on Earth to ensure survival. Spiber remains committed to blazing a trail in providing such material alternatives for industry and playing a role in the transition to a more sustainable society. We are excited to be taking the next important steps in that process together with ADM.”

In 2019, the two companies began a long-term collaboration in which ADM provided technical, engineering and process support, along with access to production resources, to help develop and test Spiber's process at scale. Following the successful completion of that work, this second phase extends the partnership between the two companies, creating a pathway toward commercial-scale production in the coming years.

ADM provides industry-advancing innovations, a complete portfolio of ingredients and solutions and a commitment to sustainability. ADM is a global leader in human and animal nutrition and the world's premier agricultural origination and processing company.

Established in September 2007, Spiber is a Japanese biotechnology startup utilizing cutting-edge synthetic biology, polymer and material science for the development of novel protein materials known as Brewed Protein. Produced through microbial fermentation and utilizing agricultural feedstocks as their primary raw material, Brewed Protein polymers are positioned to make significant contributions to animal-free and plastic-free initiatives in a range of fields, such as the apparel and automotive industries.

Source: ADM and Spiber.

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