Elevance-Wilmar JV to produce dibasic acids in Indonesia

02 July 2010 20:09  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--The newly formed joint venture of US Elevance Renewable Sciences and Indonesian oleochemical major Wilmar will produce C18 dicarboxylic acids and esters at its planned biorefinery in Indonesia, an official said on Friday.

The dibasic acids will be of high-purity level suitable for polymer applications, said Andy Shafer, sales vice president at Elevance, in an interview with ICIS news.

The biorefinery will produce the intermediate chemical 9-decenoic acid and esters via Elevance’s proprietary metathesis technology, he said.  The chemical will then be used to produce the dibasic acids, he added.

The biorefinery can use various natural oils and waste oils as feedstock.

The market for 9-decenoic acid is very small as it has been previously produced only through an expensive fermentation process, said Shafer.

Prices for 9-decenoic acid are currently about $1,000/kg (€800/kg), he said.

Shafer said Elevance will be able to sell 9-decenoic acid closer to the $2/kg range, enabling significant new uses, including producing dibasic acids.

Dibasic acids are currently priced in the range of $5/kg, he noted.

“Aside from producing renewable-based and more cost-economic dibasic acids, we can also now produce and market 9-decenoic acid at high volumes and low price levels,” said Shafer.

The biorefinery will have a capacity of 180,000 tonnes/year, which is expandable up to 360,000 tonnes/year. The facility in Surabaya, Indonesia, is expected to come online in 2011.

Shafer said the company will begin producing samples for product qualification in the fourth quarter of 2010 with truckload quantities available early in 2011.

Other products to be manufactured in the biorefinery include alpha and internal olefins, oleochemicals and advanced biofuels, he said.

($1 = €0.80)

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