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Chemicals Scale-Up Technology

Testing underway for Evolva’s collaboration with US Navy on plant-based composites.

Fill photo courtesy of the US Navy, taken by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Spike Call  - At sea aboard USS Germantown (LSD 42) Jul. 4, 2000 -- Seaman Lance Carlos is sent over the side of the amphibious dock landing ship during painting and preservation for the ship's 30,000-pound anchor. “Over and above the benefits to the US Navy, there could be a broad spectrum of civilian applications…”

Evolva, a pioneer in sustainable, fermentation-based approaches has confirmed that testing is underway with the US Navy around the development of novel composite materials. The project is to focus on the development of a new class of structural composite materials engineered from a polymer resin matrix fabricated from a specified formulation of Evolvas resveratrol. Resveratrol is an ingredient found in certain plants that is associated with a range of functional effects when the plant is subjected to extreme stress from things like heat, dehydration, or disease. Evolva has produced and delivered this specified formulation, and will continue to work with the Navy to advance this new class of composites.

Many of the functional effects associated with resveratrol that are observed in nature are thought to be mediated by its induction of survival genes. Evolvas resveratrol is produced using advanced biotechnology and yeast fermentation. It is made from natural and sustainable feedstocks and has a highly scalable, stable, traceable and reliable supplychain. Currently available structural carbon composites are often unsuited for high-energy, high fire-risk applications such as fuel tanks, engine components, high-rise buildings, elevators, rockets, trains, and lithium battery casings, to name just a few.

The polymer resin matrix being tested for this new class of composite materials is made from a special formulation of Evolvas ( @EvolvaTweets)resveratrol, which can be economically and sustainably manufactured on an industrial scale using advanced biotechnology and fermentation, converted to a thermosetting monomer, and then polymerised and shaped/moulded using standard fabrication techniques. In addition to resveratrol, Evolvas products include stevia, vanillin, nootkatone and saffron.

Prototype materials made from Evolvas resveratrol have performed well in preliminary tests, exhibiting a number of advantages over existing fire-resistant materials. Resveratrol polymer composites are lighter than aluminium, halogen free, and able to withstand prolonged exposure to intense heat and flame impingement without combusting or structurally degrading. More testing is needed, but if results remain consistent it could usher in a new class of structural composite materials.

Over and above the benefits to the US Navy, there could be a broad spectrum of civilian applications (aviation, aerospace, automotive, public transport, construction, electronics, energy storage and transmission) and professionals (first responders, construction workers, miners, foundry workers, welders, mechanics) that stand to benefit from products fortified with these composites.

Engineering with biology provides a way to produce a whole range of product innovations that would otherwise be impossible to achieve economically and sustainably, said Evolva CEO Neil Goldsmith.

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Doug Mckalip,Senior Advisor Biotechnology,USDA is an expert speaker and conducting a ‘fire-side chat’ with Bio-Based World News Editor Luke Upton atBio-Based Livein San Francisco onSeptember 26-27 2016, and will be joining fellow experts including representatives from P&G, Matter Unlimited, Genomatica, Anellotech,Korres Natural Products,Braskem,Allbirds and many more

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