ADM delays full renewable PG startup to second quarter

30 March 2010 20:19  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has begun the startup process of its renewable propylene glycol (PG) plant, but does not expect it to be fully operational until the second quarter, the company said on Tuesday.

The company originally planned to start the 100,000 tonnes/year (220m lb/year) plant in December 2009 before delaying it to the first quarter of 2010.

“We are currently starting up our renewable propylene and ethylene glycol facility,” ADM spokeswoman Beth Chandler said. “Once we’ve completed start up, which we expect to be in the second quarter, we will be producing both industrial- and USP-grade PG.”

Glycerine refiners have hotly debated the effect ADM’s plant will have on the crude glycerine market. ADM has said it will buy crude glycerine on the open market and then refine it in-house to feed the PG plant, but that it would source the material in a way that would minimise impact on glycerine supply and prices.

But glycerine refiners contest whether such a soft touch would be possible, saying that the start up of ADM’s PG plant will tighten crude glycerine availability. The uncertainty of crude glycerine supply in the future has kept a wide range in place for refined glycerine contract prices.

First-quarter glycerine contracts were assessed at 28-45 cents/lb ($617-992/tonne, €457-734/tonne) for both vegetable- and tallow- based material, according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Ben Lefebvre
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