Turning Greenhouse Gases into Ingeo Biopolymer


biomimicry coral

Nature looks at greenhouse gases - atmospheric carbon as a feedstock, a raw material. It’s what trees, plants, and huge structures like coral reefs, are built from. At NatureWorks, we’re doing the same thing – using our best technologies to turn carbon that’s in the atmosphere contributing to global warming, into a portfolio of performance Ingeo materials.

How we convert our atmospheric carbon feedstock into Ingeo matters, and we take a hard look at this in everything that we do. Currently, the first step in transforming atmospheric carbon into Ingeo involves using agricultural crops to sequester the carbon, “fixing” it as simple plant sugars through the process of photosynthesis. This rightfully brings up questions around feedstock sourcing: agricultural growing practices, food and biopolymers, and land use.

Performance materials made by transforming the right, abundant, local resources.

At NatureWorks, we’re committed to feedstock diversification – to using the most abundant, locally available, and sustainable source of biobased carbon, wherever we produce. Equally, we’re committed to critically assessing and assuring the sustainability of each and every feedstock we use.




According to the most recent World Energy Outlook report (International Energy Association, Nov. 2008):

  • Oil prices will rebound to more than $100/barrel once the economy recovers and will exceed $200 by 2030. 
  • Output from the world's oil field is declining at a rate of 9%.

     This means we must plan the future around abundant and renewable solutions like Ingeo!



    Right now...

  • Ingeo is made from dextrose (sugar) that is derived from field corn already grown for many industrial & functional end-uses.  In North America, corn has been used first because it is the most economically feasible source of plant starches.
  • We use less than 1/20th of 1% (0.05%) of the annual global corn crop today, so there's little to no impact on food prices or supply (1). 
  • The process does not require corn, we only need a sugar source.  This could include sugar beets, sugar cane, wheat and more.

     In the future...

  • Ingeo will be made from cellulosic raw materials, agricultural wastes and non-food plants.

We are committed to a long term plan to transition the current raw material supply to residual biomass.  This is a key part of the Ingeo journey to responsible innovation.



  • Making Ingeo does not require genetically modified (GM) materials.
  • Ingeo is certified by GeneScan to contain no genetic material. 
  • Currently, the corn grown in the U.S. is a mixed stream of GM and conventional corn. 
  • To address variable global market demands around GM feedstock, NatureWorks offers 3 certified source options.


(1) 2007/2008 World Corn Production: 790.91MM MT.  At capacity, NatureWorks uses 2.2lbs of corn per lb of Ingeo manufactured.