Corrected: Mexico’s Grupo Kuo starts nanotech plastics additives plant

25 August 2009 20:13  [Source: ICIS news]

Correction: In the ICIS news story headlined “Mexico’s Grupo Kuo starts nanotech plastics additives plant” dated 25 August 2009, please read in the second paragraph … Macro-M’s … instead of … Metro-M’s…. A corrected story follows.

MEXICO CITY (ICIS news)--A nanotechnology-based plastic additives plant in Lerma, Mexico, is rolling out the first of three product lines that are planned by a new subsidiary of Mexican chemical manufacturer Grupo Kuo, a company executive said on Tuesday.

Kuo chief financial officer Marisol Vazquez-Mellado said plastics industry clients are ready to integrate the additives from subsidiary company Macro-M’s 250 tonne/year “semi-industrial” plant. Each tonne of the additive is combined with 10 tonnes of plastic.

One key use of the additives will be to make polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling more efficient, she said.

“The additives allow nanoparticles to fuse with the plastic, allowing it to hold together through the recycling process much more efficiently,” she said, adding that this is the only plant in the world making this product.

The plant opened on 19 August.

Grupo Kuo has invested about $10m (€7m) in the research, development and construction of the plant.

The other two planned lines - currently in advanced stages of research - are composite plastics made from nano-scale materials and materials with special properties, such as controlled release nanotubes that are often used for regulating delivery of bioactive compounds such as pesticides.

Vazquez-Mellado said new plants will be started once the company can demonstrate to clients the immediate usefulness of the next two lines.

Vazquez-Mellado added that the annual nanotechnology market is thought to be $2,600bn worldwide. Macro-M’s planned segment of that market is $1.5bn with a growth rate exceeding 30% annually.

According to a company release, the plant follows 10 years of investment in research with five resulting international patents now pending approval.

The new technologies will be aimed at accessing burgeoning “green” industries.

“The various non-traditional markets of the future demand ever higher performance and environment friendly materials that can position themselves within the cycle of renewable, recyclable and green energy,” said Grupo Kuo administrative council president Fernando Senderos.

The products will also be marketed to the aerospace, construction, textile, packaging and automotive industries, among others.

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By James Young

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