Company initiatives, studies and reports

Polyols from bio-PDO and succinic acid

This year seems to be a good year for expanding DuPont Tate & Lyle’s (DTL) bio-based propanediol (PDO) applications. This week, the company announced that its Susterra bio-based PDO combined with bio-succinic acid supplied by Myriant, are now being used by Piedmont Chemical to produce 100% bio-based polyester polyols.

Polyester polyols (dicarboxylic acids + diols) are chemical intermediates used in the production of urethane foams, coatings, adhesives and sealants. The new polyols are said to be functionally equal and cost-competitive with petroleum-derived polyols. DTL said the bio-based polyols do not have green-price premiums.

DTL’s biobased PDO production facility

Technical specification and polyol samples will be available by year-end for urethane producers looking to utilize “green polyols” for their end-market applications. In the press release, DTL noted its 140m lb/year (63,500 tonnes/year) Susterra bio-PDO production capacity in Loudon, Tennessee, which has been operational since 2006.

Myriant, meanwhile, is expected to start its new 30m lb/year bio-succinic acid in Lake Providence, Louisiana, by the first quarter of 2013.

The three companies have agreed to an open innovation collaboration by which the polyol formulations will be made available to polyol producers and the urethane industry at large. Polyol customers will be able to purchase polyols using DTL’s Susterra bio-PDO and Myriant’s bio-succinic acid produced by Piedmont as well as from other polyol producers.

This is an interesting non-exclusive deal that could guarantee more interest and development in the applications of 100% bio-based polyester polyols. Piedmont said it will manufacture the initial polyol product samples and will offer commercial supply of the polyol products to the market.

In June, both DTL and Myriant also collaborated on the use of their bio-PDO and bio-succinic acid, respectively, on a label adhesive manufactured by DaniMer Scientific, which is used for PET containers and packaging. According to DaniMer, the biobased label adhesive under the tradename DaniMer 92721 dissolves completely in the PET flake caustic wash recycling operations — which eliminates the problems associated with PET container recycling.

By the way, for more background information on the burgeoning bio-based polyester polyols market, check out a recent article that I wrote for ICIS which was distributed at the American Chemistry Council’s ACC 2012 Polyurethanes Technical Conference held in September.

For PDO, according to this new study by Markets and Markets, the global 1,3-propanediol market will grow from an estimated $157m in 2012 to $560m in 2019 with a compound annual growth rate of 19.9% during the period of 2012 to 2019.

Increasing demand of bio-based chemicals, growing application areas and increasing population are the major drivers of the global 1,3-PDO market, according to the study.

The market is reportedly dominated by Dupont Tate & Lyle, which is the only bulk producer of 1,3-PDO. There are few Chinese companies but they produces at very small scale. New players such as France-based METabolic Explorer and China-based Huamei Biomaterial are expected to enter the market in near future.

Chinese consulting firm CCM International reported early this year that Zhangjiagang Huamei Biomaterial is building a (bio-based? petroleum-based?) PDO production line with total capacity of 65,000 tonnes/year.

The company supposedly started the first phase of the PDO production line with capacity of 13,000 tonnes/year in Changjiang River Chemical Industrial Park, China last year September. PDO products were expected to have come out of the new facility in April this year, according to CCM.

The blog was not able to verify the information and if the start-up has pushed through. Anybody out there who has update information about Huamei, pls. let us know!

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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  1. Pingback: More Evidence of Demand for Polyols from Bio-PDO and Succinic Acid - Myriant Blog - April 20, 2013

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