NatureWorks Recognized as Proactive in Renewable Energy

In association with the United Nation’s Kyoto Protocol meetings, NatureWorks LLC was honored by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building the global renewable energy industry. NatureWorks achieved this distinction by contracting for an initial 59,000 MWh per year of Green-e certified wind renewable energy credits (REC), making the company one of the largest purchasers of wind-related power in the U.S.

The company’s green power purchase offsets all of the energy used to operate the world’s largest industrial biopolymer manufacturing plant including a 400 million lb. lactic-acid plant. The facility turns ordinary field corn into a plastic resin, called NatureWorks PLA, which is used in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific to make food containers, utensils, carpet tiles and apparel. The use of renewable energy also offsets the already low greenhouse gas emissions of the company’s manufacturing process, creating the world’s first greenhouse-gas neutral polymer. “Our annually renewable feedstock, corn, already offers a significant reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, compared to petroleum-based plastics,” said Dennis McGrew, vice president and chief marketing officer of NatureWorks. “The achievement of a greenhouse-gas neutral position through the use of green energy gives our corn-derived polymer a significant competitive advantage versus other polymers, such as PET — specifically, a more than 65 percent reduction in fossil fuel used to manufacture a commercial-grade plastic.” NatureWorks is part of the WRI’s Green Power Market Development Group, a commercial and industrial partnership dedicated to building corporate markets for green power such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, certified low-impact hydro, and fuel cells. Group members are among the largest non-utility buyers of renewable energy in the U.S. “Photosynthesis already embeds a renewable source of carbon into the plant sugars we use as our raw material to make NatureWorks PLA,” said McGrew. “Now, gusts of wind create the equivalent amount of power required to fuel our entire manufacturing process in a clean, affordable and meaningful way.”
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