Corrected: CO2-based PC may lead to better earnings - Shell

13 October 2009 21:27  [Source: ICIS news]

Correction: In the ICIS news story headlined "CO2-based PC may lead to better earnings - Shell" dated 13 October 2009, please read in the third paragraph … sell the DPC to PC producers for further processing .… instead of … sell the DPC to PC producers such as SABIC Innovative Plastics and Bayer Material Science for further processing .… A corrected story follows.

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Petrochemical producer Shell is developing a polycarbonate (PC) feedstock based on carbon dioxide, a development that will ease the chemical’s burden on the environment and hopefully producers’ pocketbooks, the company said on Tuesday.

The company said its process uses carbon dioxide, phenol and propylene oxide to create propylene glycol (PG) and diphenyl carbonate (DPC), a PC feedstock that replaces phosgene.

Shell said it plans to sell the DPC to PC producers for further processing.

The method is not only cleaner than the traditional way of making PC, but also less expensive, said Shell representative Garo Vaporciyan.

“Whichever company finds a way to make DPC cheaply is going to have a huge role in the market,” Vaporciyan said.

The Shell DPC process would also be a step-change improvement over the ethylene oxide-based process developed by Asahi, he added.

Vaporciyan would not say how much cheaper the carbon dioxide-based PC would be to make compared with traditional PC. He also declined to give an idea of how long the process would take to reach commercial scale.

But with PC having become more of a commodity plastic during the past few years, a lower price would be just as important as a “green chemical” status to garner attention from producers, Vaporciyan said. 

Shell has intermediate-scale plants producing DPC in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Pasadena, Texas.

($1 = €0.68)

Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives in Green Chemistry
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By: Ben Lefebvre
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