France's Roquette plans alternatives to phthalates, polycarbonate

29 June 2010 20:37  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--France-based starch and polyols chemicals producer Roquette Freres has developed diester plasticiser and polycarbonate from cereal-based isosorbide, a company official said on Tuesday.

Isosorbide was being considered as a new green building block for polymers, said Patrick Fuertes, who was responsible for research at Roquette. He spoke at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotech and Bioprocessing in Washington, DC.

Roquette produces isosorbide diesters under the trade name Polysorb ID 37 at its 100 tonne/year pilot plant in Lestrem, France. The diesters are produced from esterification of isosorbide with fatty acid.

Fuertes said the isosorbide diesters had excellent plasticising properties for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) applications and could replace phthalates.

Roquette said it expected to launch new products based on isosorbide diester by the end of the year in applications such as in children’s products and in hospital products.

Roquette was also developing isosorbide polycarbonates, which could replace bisphenol-A (BPA) in polycarbonate plastics, and polyethylene isosorbide terepthalate (PEIT), it said.

The isosorbide polycarbonate was being developed in partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical. Fuertes said the new bio-engineered plastic was comparable to the properties of polycarbonate and polyethylene methyl methacrylate (PMMA).

Roquette was also planning to build a 300 tonne/year demonstration plant for the isosorbide polycarbonate that was expected to start in 2012.

Pilot trials were ongoing for PEIT to improve processing, said Fuertes.

Roquette is developing the isosorbide derivatives under the multi-partnership program BioHub, which seeks to develop bio-based chemicals using agriculture-based raw materials.

Other chemical companies involved in the BioHub program include Arkema, DSM, Solvay, and Cognis.

The conference ends on Wednesday.

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Doris de Guzman
+1 713 525 2653

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