BAINBRIDGE, GA- Meredian, Inc., a privately held biopolymer manufacturer harvested its first locally sourced canola crop in Decatur County, Ga. The harvesting of the 1,000 acres of canola fields planted last year began May 12 and continued through Memorial Day.
Canola is a major component of Meredian’s process to produce biopolymers which are raw materials that can be used for manufacturing a wide range of completely biodegradable plastic products. The canola oil used in Meredian’s production is the single most important, yet costly factor in their manufacturing process. While theoretically, the company can use any plant derived oil to convert carbon into biopolymers, canola is the perfect option because it possesses the ability to be grown locally, which cuts down on unnecessary and costly transportation steps. Growing locally stimulates Georgia’s economy, while allowing Meredian to continue their mission of manufacturing biopolymers from renewable, natural resources that equal or exceed petroleum-based plastics in price and performance.
“We are thrilled about the successful harvest of our pilot canola fields,” said Paul Pereira, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors at Meredian, Inc. “The first harvest marks a major milestone in meeting the full scale needs of this facility.”
USDA certified scales and seed analysis equipment were used to check and verify that the crop’s moisture content was within specifications. In some parts of the 1,000 acres that were planted, more than 43 bushels were produced per acre. Despite the less than desirable conditions the crop endured over the season, the canola was healthy and undamaged. The success of this season supports Meredian’s decision in choosing locally grown canola as their major source to produce their completely biodegradable PHA.
Currently, Meredian Inc. is repurposing a one-million square foot facility where the equipment will clean and crush canola seeds into oil by a solvent and toxin-free, cold press process. Until crushing equipment is installed, the 850,000 pounds of seeds from the harvest will be stored at Meredian. Once the equipment is installed, the majority of the seeds recently harvested will be crushed to produce oil for the current PHA production needs.
The seeds that are not crushed to meet production needs will be used for next year’s harvest, which will be planted this fall and set to be harvested in Spring 2015. Based on the interest of farmers, Meredian expects between 10,000 and 15,000 acres of canola fields to be planted this fall for Meredian. Eventually, the company hopes to utilize 100,000 acres to grow canola in order to sustain the capacity of their 60 million pound fermentation facility.
Another great quality about canola is that it can be “double-cropped” here in the southeastern United States. This means the crop can be planted in the fall and harvested in the spring, which allows farmers to grow another crop before planting canola again in the fall. The canola plant also does not deplete the soil, but rather acts as a soil improver putting nutrients back into the ground. The canola plants grown by Meredian are guaranteed to be non-genetically modified or Non- GMO. Non-GMO canola oil is recognized as a high value cooking oil that offers Meredian alternatives for any excess oils available. The by-product of the crushing process produces a canola meal which has value as a highly nutritional live stock feed. These options ensure that Meredian will maximize the value of the harvest.
About Meredian, Inc.
Meredian, Inc. is a privately held Georgia corporation which manufactures PHA biopolymers using renewable resources, further reducing the global dependence on petroleum historically used in production of plastics. Meredian, Inc. was formed by the principles following the success of its sister company, DaniMer Scientific, LLC. DaniMer Scientific was formed in 2004 to bring innovative solutions to the world by way of the use of biopolymer materials in traditional plastic applications. These companies are supported by a world class group of dedicated, highly skilled team members. With the addition of Meredian PHA biopolymers, the two companies offer a comprehensive selection of biopolymers that supports their core values of utilizing sustainably produced, renewable resource based polymers to improve people’s lives at work.