I have been covering the development of soy polyols since my journalism days at Chemical Market Reporter magazine (a loooong time ago) and one of the pioneers in this sector is Arkansas-based BioBased Technologies (BBT) LLC.
The company has debuted its Agrol soy-based polyols ten years ago and now it recently announced its expansion into Europe. Beginning next year, BBT will have Agrol stocked in Europe to provide easy access to meet demands. According to BBT, the bio-polyol market is going through a rebirth in Europe as customers are realizing the benefits of using renewable and reusable products in their manufacturing. In the past, the major focus overseas was on petroleum pricing but now the spotlight is back on sustainability.
BBT has appointed Cellular Technology Europe Limited based in the UK to represent the company as its sales agent in Europe. The initial Agrol customers in Europe are primarily manufacturers of furniture, bedding and automotive molded foams. BBT said the Agrol products will be price competitive with petroleum-based chemicals in the European market.
The first Agrol customers in 2005 was Georgia-based Universal Textile Technologies, which provides backing technology to the carpet and synthetic turf industry. A major selling point for BBT is to customize Agrol formulas specific to each customer and product. The Agrol products are manufactured at a plant in Fountain Hill, South Carolina under a tolling agreement with CRI Tolling, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Synalloy Corporation.
In another recent news, Malama Composites announced that it has earned USDA Certified Biobased Product Label for its Pacific BioFoam and Studio BioFoam products. The bio-based foam products have also been identified for Federal preferred purchasing. The USDA Certified Biobased Product Label verifies that the product’s amount of renewable bio-based ingredients meets or exceeds levels set by USDA. Malama uses polyols made from soybean oil, castor oil or even recycled PET. The company said its bio-based foams are cost and performance competitive.
Tecnon OrbiChem’s BioMaterials newsletter has been covering the bio-based and sustainable polyols markets for two years now, and there are definitely a lot of “bio” and “sustainable” R&D and commercialization activities going on in this sector as well as the polyurethanes industry in general.