On October 28th, 2022, PhaBuilder held a ceremony of the completion of PHA intelligent demonstration plant and successful trial production (short for the ceremony) with the theme of "Constructing Microbes and Intelligence, Together We Build the Future". It marked the formation of a closed loop of PhaBuilder in the industrialization, digitalization and commercialization of synthetic biology, as well as the strategic layout of the industrial chain.
The theme of "Constructing Microbes and Intelligence, Together We Build the Future" indicates that PhaBuilder will use digitalized and intelligent microbial cell factory to help the development of synthetic biology industry from a market-oriented perspective. More specifically, PhaBuilder will take China’s strategic demands as the guide, base on original and leading scientific and technological innovation, unite and deeply integrate investment community, industry and universities, and jointly build a green,low-carbon and sustainable future.
Deep integration of industry-university-research to build a green future
A number of prestigious guests and representatives of famous companies attended the event to witness the milestone of PhaBuilder’s successful PHA trial production.
Xiaojun Xu, member of the Standing Committee and deputy district chief of the Shunyi District, Beijing, said that the PHA intelligent demonstration plant is a green low-carbon project that Shunyi District focuses on. Shunyi District paid great attention and support to the development of PhaBuilder, and is committed to providing more high-quality services to support PhaBuilder to grow bigger and stronger and make greater contributions to regional economic development.
Haibing Xie, Chairman of CNPC Kunlun Capital, pointed out that CNPC Kunlun Capital has always invested in strategic emerging industries including new materials and incubated leading companies in niche areas. CNPC Kunlun Capital is looking forward to working with PhaBuilder to promote the industrialization of synthetic biology products such as PHA.
Wei Wu, Secretary of Party Committee of School of Life Sciences at Tsinghua University, said he was glad to see the industrialization of PHA intelligent production demonstration plant coming out from the School of Life Sciences of Tsinghua University. He hopes PhaBuilder can continue to transform the scientific research results, serve China’s green development strategy and the carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals, and bring the scientific and technological achievements to a new peak!
Yunxuan Weng, Secretary General of Degradable Plastics Committee of China Plastics Processing Industry Association, said that the completion of the PHA intelligent demonstration plant is a big event in the degradable plastic industry, and he hopes PhaBuilder can follow up the victory and keep promoting the marketization and industrialization of green degradable products!
Jie Zhang, General Manager of Sino Biological, said that the two companies have continued to focus on their respective fields for decades, always adhered to the concept of promoting development through independent innovation and never stopped new exploration and attempts. He also commented that the two companies shared the same culture of innovation and the same style of the founders being down-to-earth, rigorous and realistic, which brought them together. The strong combination of both sides willmagnify each other's advantages and make him confident about the future cooperation!
Lennart Fries, Manager of Nestle R&D Science and Technology Transformation Department, said that as one of the multinational companies to start green initiatives earlier in China, Nestle China is very interested and concerned about the development progress of projects such as PhaBuilder and PHA Intelligent Demonstration Plant. He hopes to achieve green development goals together with green partners like PhaBuilder.
As the technology founder of PHA, Professor Guoqiang Chen, Professor of the School of Life Sciences and Director of the Center for Synthesis and Systems Biology at Tsinghua University, said he was very happy to see the completion of the PHA Intelligent Demonstration Line and the industrialization of PHA.Hebelieves that as PHA becomes globally accessible, the green future will surely be realized soon!
Other guests include representatives from Tsinghua University, investment institutions, and upstream and downstream partners. In addition, GO!PHA Association, RWTH Aachen University, BASF Germany, Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment, Unilever Group, Wanhua Chemical Group, Hefei Hengxin Life Science & Technology, Shanghai Tong-jie-liang Biomaterial, BBCAGroup,Henan Jindan Lactic Acid Technology, Jinfa Technology, Shenzhen Yuto Packaging Technology, Hubei PHAngel Biotechnology, North China Pharmaceutical Group, Angel Yeast, and other partners outside Beijing also congratulated PhaBuilder through congratulatory letters or remote videos.
Fig.1 | Official Launch of PHA Intelligent DemonstrationPlant
The DNA-shaped launch device means that the synthetic biology method can be used to embed different gene fragments in the powerful chassis of Halomonas to build a thousand different products and solutions. PhaBuilder will unite the resources of the government, investment community, industry and universities to build a synthetic biology industry chain and together witness the synthetic biology tend towards intelligence and build a green future!
Industry, university and research achieve new breakthroughs
During the ceremony, the guests visited the demonstrationplant, listened to the explanation about the digital twins system, and also had a detailed inspection of the whole production process of PHA products from fermentation, separation and extraction, to drying and packaging.
PHA intelligent demonstration plant comprehensively integrate R&D and production, which can realize the whole industrial chain from strain R&D, lab-scale production, pilot production, mass production, to application development. Based on this demonstrationplant, PhaBuilder will continue to apply core technology innovation to new materials and high value-added small molecule compounds through synthetic biology methods. The core technology will empower mass production of 10,000 tons in PHAngel Plant in Yichang, Hubei Province.
Fig.2 | PhaBuilder R&D Center Staff
Fig.3 | Guests visiting the intelligent demonstration plant
PhaBuilder has designed a unique tank structure and production process according to the characteristics of theHalomonas, and constructed adigitaltwins system of the tanks through intelligent technology. The system will establish a function on cell growth through the accumulation of data and develop a digital twin system integrating monitoring, digital operation and maintenance, and optimization iteration through automation, digitization and intelligence. This will build a solid foundation for the realization of continuous production of fully automated cell factory. The digital twins system of PhaBuilder will be further used in the 10kt PHAngel production plant to play an important role in the whole life cycle of design, construction, operation and maintenance.
Fig.4 | Digital twins system of PhaBuilder
The guests touched the PHA powder and pellet products, witnessed the first batch of green raw materials, and learned about the superior performance of PHA straws and textile. PhaBuilder also announced the first shipment f PHA products to a customer in Shanghai. Together with PHAngel Plant, PhaBuilder will continue to speed up the production in the future to meet the fast-growing demand of customers worldwide.
Fig.5 | Successful production of PHA products
Fig.6 | Staff of PhaBuilder introducing the production system of powder products to the visitors
Fig.7 | Staff of PhaBuilder demonstrating the degradation performance of PHA
The unique green water recycling system is also a highlight of the demonstration plant. The production water will eventually be purified into clean water through the operation of the water treatment workshop and then returned to the production line to provide a continuous source of water for new cells. This also realizes the recycling of resources and practices PhaBuilder's concept of low carbon and environment protection.
Working together with market leaders to build a new green ecology
The continuous breakthroughs in PHA industry and R&D have built a solid foundation for the market development of PhaBuilder. Facing the huge demand for synthetic biology products in the market,, PhaBuilder created the business combination of product- technology solution- service to explore innovative business models and develop new application scenarios for Halomonas in chemical, pharmaceutical and environmental fields.
At the ceremony,PhaBuilder signed strategic cooperation agreements respectively with CNPC Kunlun Capital and Sino Biological. This marks PhaBuilder's development in the core industry chain in addition to PHA materials.
CNPC Kunlun Capital is a direct subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation and is committed to becoming a trusted world-class industrial investor in energy innovation. CNPC Kunlun Capital balances of short-term investment returns and long-term strategic value, focusing on investing strategic emerging industries such as new energy, new materials, energy conservation and environmental protection, high-end intelligent manufacturing, as well as new technologies such as CCS/CCUS, in order to promote the green and low-carbon transformation and high-quality development of CNPC. This strategic cooperation will jointly accelerate the development of bio-manufacturing industry, promote the large-scale application of biodegradable materials, and help achieve China's carbonpeaking and carbon neutrality goals.
Sino Biological is a listed biotechnology company engaged in the R&D, production, sales and technical services of biological reagents. It has long been engaged in protein and antibody-related biotechnology, and has accumulated rich experience in recombinant expression technology platforms and various biopharmaceutical application scenarios. In this collaboration, both parties will leverage their respective technological advantages to jointly explore new applications of the Next Generation Industrial Biotechnology in the pharmaceutical field.
PhaBuilder has previously established strategic cooperation with a great number of companies, such as Angel Yeast, North China Pharmaceutical, China Textile Academy, Hefei Hengxin Life Science & Technology,Engelbart, Shanghai Tong-jie-liang Biomaterial and Novozymes, to jointly promote the process of downstream applications. All these collaborations will connect the upstream and downstream of the green industry chain, allowing new synthetic biology products such as PHA to be integrated into industrial applications and people's daily life.
Along with the launch of the demonstrationplant, the production, the realization of intelligence, and the progress in industrialization, PhaBuilder will unite the resources of the government, investment community, industry, and universities to build the synthetic biology industry chain, and turn thevison ofgreen future into reality. PhaBuilder will constantly promote the deep integration of synthetic biotechnology and people's life, upgrade the intelligent biological manufacturing industry, in order to achieve PhaBuilder's core mission of Using Microbes to Change the World and Build a Green Future!