French Roquette to expand isosorbide capacity by 2011

14 September 2010 18:35  [Source: ICIS news]

BOSTON (ICIS)--France-based starch chemical company Roquette is expanding its isosorbide production capacity in Lestrem, France, to "tens of thousands of tonnes" annually by 2011, an executive said on Tuesday.

Roquette is currently producing "thousands of tonnes" per year of isosorbide at the Lestrem site.

The company has been marketing the product as PolySorb P, a substitute for bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates.

Isosorbide is being considered as a new green building block for polymers, said Michael Chen, national sales and business development at Roquette, in a presentation at the Biobased East Chemicals conference in Boston.

“Isosorbide derivatives can not only replace suspect molecules such as bisphenol A and phthalates but also endow additional properties in selected polymers. We have successfully done a lot of testing on isosorbide derivatives both in the US and Europe,” he added.

Roquette is developing isosorbide derivatives such as isosorbide diester, polyester polyisosorbide succinate, isosorbide polycarbonates and polyethylene isosorbide terephthalate (PEIT).

The company is working with Japan-based Mitsubishi Chemical for the development of Bio-EP, a transparent bio-based engineered plastic made with isosorbide polycarbonate.

A 300 tonne/year demonstration plant is under construction in Japan for Bio-EP, Chen said. Samples are already available for testing.

A 20,000 tonne/year commercial Bio-EP plant is scheduled to start in 2012.

Roquette is also producing its isosorbide diester under the trade name Polysorb ID 37 in a 100 tonne/year demonstration plant in Lestrem.

The diester is 100% biobased and can replace phthalates, Chen said.

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