Near Beer: Blue Marble Bio buys new Montana site, readies for commercial-scale

August 29, 2013 |

We haven’t heard from Blue Marble Biomaterials, a specialty biochemical manufacturer based in Missoula, for some time — but in Blue Marble fashion, they’ve come roaring out of stealth with big news.

It’s this: they have closed on the purchase of the former GTC Oats Inc. facility located at 5840 Expressway, Missoula, MT 59808. The site used to be a wet extraction processing plant for the creation of food ingredients.

“We are excited to announce the purchase of this site which will become our first Large Commercial Bio-­Refinery.” said Colby Underwood, Co-­‐CEO and Chief Business Officer for Blue Marble Biomaterials.

The purchase includes 3.81 acres of land, a 19,000 square foot building complex, and parking stalls for over 100 employees. With this site, Blue Marble will have the opportunity to equip its employees with the latest technologies. The building retrofits include systems that will allow for greater energy efficiency and enable the site to be a showcase for the company’s “zero-­‐waste” focus.

Blue Marble Biomaterials expects to see significant growth in the coming months, as the site purchase comes just as Blue Marble begins closing a $15 million debt financing deal through the USCIS EB-­‐5 Program. The EB-­‐5 Program was created by Congress in 1990 as a mechanism to stimulate economic activity, encourage foreign investment in US companies, and create domestic jobs. Currently employing 24 people, Blue Marble Biomaterials is one of the first biotechnology companies to take advantage of the program and expects to create over 300 direct and indirect jobs in the Missoula area as a result of the financing and recent site purchase.

Blue Marble background

In the winter of 2011-12, Blue Marble Biomaterials announced that they have recently signed a memorandum of understanding to begin development of a bio-refinery pilot at a North American Anheuser-Busch facility. The project will convert spent grains and biogas from the brewing process into chemicals that can be used in other applications, such as food, cosmetics, and personal care products.

Meanwhile the company also landed an offtake partner, announcing an agreement last January with Sigma-Aldrich’s custom manufacturing and services business unit, SAFC.

As a global manufacturer and distributor of specialty chemicals used in a wide variety of industries including food and beverage flavors, personal care ingredients, scientific research, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, the agreement gives SAFC’s customers ready access to Blue Marble’s offer of natural and sustainable biochemical alternatives.

These products will be sold under the SAFC portfolio and were originally expected to be available for purchase in April of 2013.

Blue Marble Biomaterials, Anheuser-Busch sign MOU for pilot renewable chemicals project

More on the company here.

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