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Issue 02/2016

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Plastics
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  • Biodegradable
  • Biobased
  • Products
  • Materials
  • Packaging
  • Polymers
  • Environmental

Materials The 100 %

Materials The 100 % bio-PET/polyester approach The bio-PET bottle is now followed by a bio-PET T-shirt According to different forecasts of e.g. European Bioplastics or the Institute of Bioplastics and Biocomposites (IfBB), the bioplastic market will continue to grow in the next years with bio-PET 30 representing the lion’s share (> 75 %). 30 wt.% of this bio-PET 30 is represented by biobased mono ethylene glycol (MEG). In order to be able to produce 100 % biobased PET, many different technologies for the production of PTA (purified terepthalic acid) or its precursor paraxylene (PX) are currently under development. Bio-PET 30 Bio-PET 30 was introduced in 2009 and can by now be found in the marketplace used by brands such as Coca-Cola, Danone, Nestle etc. in more than 25 countries around the world. Bio-MEG is currently made from bio-ethylene which is dehydrated from ethanol and dropped into the current ethylene glycol production plants with co-production of DEG (di-ethylene glycol) and TEG (tri-ethylene glycol). Ethanol is well known to be made from fermentation of sugars including those from first and second generation biomass. Ethanol could also be converted from syngas (CO+H 2 ) which could as well be biobased if made from biomass. There are other routes under development to make bio-MEG from sugars and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). For example, sugars could directly go under catalytic reactions to generate MEG, MPG (mono propylene glycol) and others. The key issue is how to make more MEG than MPG which could be made from glycerol and usually cheaper than MEG. While CO 2 is used for MEG production, oxalic acid is formed as an intermediate after electrochemical reaction of CO 2 and further reduced to MEG. 100 % bio-PET/polyester The first batch of empty bottles made from 100 % bio-PET were demonstrated by Coca-Cola (PlantBottle) in 2014 with biobased PTA technology from Virent and Far Eastern New Century (FENC). Last year, at Milan Expo, the first 100 % bio-PET bottles filled with beverages were introduced; again made using bio-PX from Virent’s pilot scale production and via FENC’s conversions. At the Sustainable Plastics conference in Cologne on March 1 st , 2016, FENC showed the world’s first 100 % bio-polyester shirt. The weaving and dyeing properties of the 100 % bio-polyester fibres proved to be the same as those of petro based polyester. This is a great progress of FENC’s 100 % bio-polyester and shows the possible use of biobased PX/PTA for dropping in to many other all downstream polyester applications. 100 % bio-PX/PTA technologies In Virent’s BioForming process sugar is catalytically converted into bio-PX. Another similar approach is the pyrolysis to crack biomass to BTX (mixture of benzene toluene xylene) which could be dropped into the petro refinery for PX separation. There are many other approaches to convert 6-carbon (C6) sugars to bio-PX or PTA (C8). H 3 C CH 3 Paraxylene (PX), C8H10 32 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/16] Vol. 11

Materials Si mple mathematics will help us to understand all these converting pathways. The first example is 2+2+2+2=8 by using 3 ethylene molecules (CH 2 +CH 2 +CH 2 ) to synthesize hexene (C 6 H 12 ) which could be further converted to PX via Diels-Alder reaction with ethylene and dehydration. Or hexene could be formed by addition reaction of isobutene and ethylene (C 4 H 8 +2CH 2 =C 6 H 12 ) as a part of 4+2+2=8 pathway with Diels-Alder and dehydration reactions. Next example is 2+6=8 by adding ethylene to sugar fermented muconic acid, 5-hydromethylfurfual (HMF) or HMF derivatives and then further chemically converted to PTA. The third calculation is 3+5 where lactic acid ester combined with bio-isoprene and function group transformation to di-acids. The last, but the least pathway is 4+4=8 by combining 2 isobutene to bio-PX with cyclization and oxidation steps. Of course, the subtraction instead of addition will work such as 10-2=8 which could be achieved by chemical oxidation to bio-PTA from limonene. While so many biological and/or chemical conversions of biomass/sugars to bio-PX/PTA, the winner of this 100 % bio-PX/PTA commercialization is still unknown, while the first commercial plant is the most difficult step due to the technology uncertainty of scaling up and a huge capital expenditure (CapEx), for much smaller scale compared to current petro-based PX/PTA plants. By: Fanny Liao Senior Vice President of RD Far Eastern New Century Corporation Taiwan Brand Owners Brand-Owner’s perspective on bioplastics and how to unleash its full potential new series Inspired by a panel discussion during the 10 th European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin last November, bioplastics MAGAZINE is now starting a new series, titled Brand-Owner’s perspective on bioplastics and how to unleash its full potential. Here we ask brand owners for a short statement, quasi as a message to the bioplastics industry. The series starts with Michael W. Knutzen of The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Innovation comes from inspiration, and at The Coca-Cola Company we are greatly inspired by the very people who drink our beverages. Our consumers expect us to deliver the beverages they know and love in a package that meets their needs such as convenience and safety, but also in a package that is environmentally considerate. Michael W. Knutzen, Global Program Director PlantBottle at The Coca-Cola Company PlantBottle packaging has been meeting consumer expectations since 2009. The first-ever fully recyclable PET plastic beverage bottle made partially from plants looks and functions just like traditional PET plastic, but has a lighter footprint on the planet and its scarce resources. bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/16] Vol. 11 33

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