Mango Materials - making biodegradable plastics on earth and beyond!

NASA have agreed to fund Mango Materials – partnering with the Colorado School of Mines -  to develop a membrane bioreactor system that can be used in ‘outer space’ environments, such as the International Space Station, to produce a biopolymer on-demand from methane gas.

The project will build upon the system developed by the Mango Materials to use bacteria to convert methane into PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates), the basis of biodegradable plastics – see earlier blog.

This is a really exciting use of the technology developed by Mango Materials.

In this modified design, the bioreactor will allow bacterial growth and biopolymer production to take place in micro-gravity environments by providing the methane gas through membranes. The biopolymers could possibly be used for 3-D printing applications. The project will also explore ways in which wastes from the process can be recycled back to minimize the required inputs.

A feasibility analysis will be carried out to evaluate the use of the process on long-term space missions.

I am sure Mango Materials is a company with a great future. Molly Morse (CEO) and Alison Pieja (Chief Technology Office) will run the project.