MicroGreen Polymers Raises $6.9M More to Move Fast Into Consumer Products

5/19/10Follow @gthuang

Score one for materials science. Arlington, WA-based MicroGreen Polymers said today it has raised $6.9 million in Series B funding, including a new strategic investment from Waste Management (NYSE: WM), based in Houston, TX. Existing investors WRF Capital, Northwest Energy Angels, and other private investors also participated. MicroGreen says the money will be used to hire more engineering, sales, and marketing staff, and to expand the company’s commercial production capabilities for consumer products.

MicroGreen Polymers spun out of the University of Washington in 2002, the brainchild of graduate students Greg Branch and Krishna Nadella. The idea was to use high-pressure liquid carbon dioxide to generate tiny microbubbles in plastics to expand the material and allow manufacturers to maintain most properties of regular plastic, while using a lot less of it. The MicroGreen technique also creates an insulating layer of air inside the plastic, which can protect people from burning themselves while holding their morning coffee, among other applications.

The company raised $1.6 million last July. But the new money means MicroGreen can accelerate its entry into the consumer market. Later this year, the company says, it will begin selling sheets of its material for food-service applications like packaging. It will also sell a thermally insulated beverage cup that is recyclable and made from recycled material.

“We’re excited to accelerate our growth plans for the commercialization of our technology and products,” said Tom Malone, CEO of MicroGreen, in a statement. He cited the potential of MicroGreen’s technology to “dramatically reduce the environmental footprint of plastics, help our customers reduce raw material costs and transition to more post-consumer recycled materials, and generate value for our company.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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