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News Bayer Starts Pilot

News Bayer Starts Pilot Plant for Plastic Manufacturing With CO 2 Bayer of Leverkusen, Germany is taking a new direction in the production of high-quality plastics with the help of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the energy sector. A pilot plant has come on stream at Chempark Leverkusen to trial the new process on a technical scale. The plant produces a chemical precursor into which CO 2 is incorporated and then processed into polyurethanes that are used in many everyday items. As a result, CO 2 – a waste gas and key contributor to climate change – can now be recycled and used as a raw material and substitute for petroleum. The innovative process is the result of the ‘Dream Production’ project; a collaboration between industry and science. Bayer is working on the project with the energy company RWE, which supplies the CO 2 used in the process. Other project partners are RWTH Aachen University and the CAT Catalytic Center, which is run jointly by the university and Bayer. The researchers recently achieved a break-through in laboratory-scale catalysis technology which makes it possible to put CO 2 to efficient use, for the first time. “There is an opportunity to establish Germany as a market leader for these technologies and secure ourselves a leading role in a competitive international environment,” said Bayer Board of Management member Dr. Wolfgang Plischke, when he addressed representatives from the media, government and science in Leverkusen earlier this year. “The inauguration of this pilot plant is another milestone in a long line of Bayer projects that have used innovative technologies to develop sustainable production processes.” The new process helps to boost sustainability in a number of different ways. For example, carbon dioxide may offer an alternative to petroleum, which has until now been the chemical sector’s main source of the key element carbon. Polyurethanes themselves also help to reduce energy consumption and protect the climate. When used to insulate buildings from cold and heat, they can save approximately 70 times more energy than is used in their production. Mitsubishi and PTT Close JV Deal PTT Public Company Limited (PTT), Bangkog, Thailand recently announced that they would enter into a Joint Venture Agreement with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC), the developer of bioplastic technology. Consequently, PTT and MCC have established PTT MCC Biochem Company Limited, the joint venture company with the shareholding proportion of 50% and 50% respectively on March 30, 2011. This joint venture will plan for the production of Polybutylene Succinate (PBS). PBS is biodegradable, but currently is made from petrochemical succinic acid and 1,4-butanediol. Bio-based versions of these monomers will be used at the new project in Thailand. MCC brings process technology for the manufacture of the succinic acid, and marketing power to sell the PBS through its existing GSPla brand. PTT will contribute expertise in operations and logistics. The registered capital of the company is € 8.4 million (US$ 12 million). The joint investment is in accordance with PTT Group’s strategy in entering the bioplastic business in order to ensure sustainable green environment. MT 6 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/11] Vol. 6

News Bioplastics to Pass One Million Tonnes This Year Global bioplastics production capacity will more than double from 2010 to 2015. Capacity is predicted to pass the one million tonne mark already in 2011, according to a current study recently presented by the industry association European Bioplastics in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hanover at interpack in Düsseldorf, Germany. From a figure of around 700,000 tonnes in 2010, the production capacity for bioplastics will increase to a predicted 1.7 million tonnes by 2015. The current year will see capacity pass an important threshold: the first half of 2011 already shows production capacity exceeding 900,000 tonnes. The million tonne mark is close, and will likely be passed by the bioplastics industry within this year. “The encouraging trend in production capacity allows us to assume, that the figures presented today will even be exceeded in the coming years”, explains Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics. A further change is evident in the composition of global production volume. In 2010, the bioplastics branch primarily produced biodegradable materials, totalling around 400,000 tonnes (compared to 300,000 tonnes of biobased commodity plastics). This ratio will be reversed in the coming years despite overall growth. “Our market study shows that biobased commodity plastics, with a total of around one million tonnes, will make up the majority of production capacity in 2015. Biodegradable materials will, however, also grow substantially and will reach about 700,000 tonnes by then”, explains Professor Hans-Josef Endres of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hanover. Essential to this rapid growth is the swift expansion of bioplastics into an ever-increasing number of applications. From packaging to car manufacture to toys, carpets and electronic components bioplastics are in demand as never before. The strongly growing group of durable biobased bioplastics appeals strongly to the packaging market, for example. Several large brand producers such as Danone and Coca-Cola have brought products to market. Europe is the world’ s largest and most interesting market for bioplastics and is the leader in research and development. The number of production facilities, in contrast, is growing most markedly in Asia and South America. The competitiveness of European industrial sites must therefore be improved through better frameworks and regulations. European Bioplastics challenges politicians to support the local bioplastics industry. Avantium Announces Start-Up of YXY Pilot Plant Avantium, headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, announced the successful start-up of its polyester pilot plant at the Chemelot site in Geleen, the Netherlands. The polyester plant is the first part of the pilot plant that Avantium is building at its new site to demonstrate its YXY technology for green materials and fuels. Avantium’s monomer pilot plant is scheduled to become operational in the second half of 2011. The YXY polyester pilot plant will produce bioplastics based on Avantium’s YXY technology. Avantium will use the polyester pilot plant for the production, development and testing of biobased polyesters, such as biobased PEF (poly-ethylene-furanoate). Avantium has demonstrated that PEF has numerous superior properties over PET, including barrier properties (oxygen, carbon-dioxide and water) and its ability to withstand heat. The YXY technology makes it possible to produce a 100% biobased and 100% recyclable polyester. Avantium is actively working on the development of PEF bottles for water, soft drinks, fruit juices, alcoholic drinks, food, diary, cosmetic products, soaps and detergents. In parallel, Avantium is developing PEF fibers for textile, carpet and industrial applications. Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium comments: “The start-up of our polyester pilot plant is another milestone of our development of our YXY technology for biobased materials. We have successfully produced the first batches of our biopolymer PEF in the pilot plant. It demonstrates that we can use existing PET production assets to manufacture PEF. The compatibility of our products with existing production assets and supply chains will facilitate the adoption of our technology. The YXY pilot plant will make larger volumes of PEF available for application development to commercialize this 100% biobased and 100% recyclable bioplastic.” MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/11] Vol. 6 7

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