Renewable chem production to rise on environmental concerns

14 June 2011 19:33  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Petrochemical companies are increasing the production of renewable chemicals in an attempt to capitalise on a growing environmentally conscientious consumer base, players said on Tuesday.

Spolchemie, a Czech epichlorohydrin (ECH) and epoxy producer has announced this week that it will increase its production output from its current capacity of 24,000 tonnes/year to 28,000-30,000 tonnes/year by April 2012.

During the production process, instead of using propylene, Spolchemie will use glycerine to create ECH. The new technology enables the company to reduce its carbon footprint, use less crude oil and to increase energy efficiency.

“Prices for these speciality grades are up to 20% higher than conventionally produced products,” added a company source.

The production increase has been driven by consumer demand for products that have a smaller effect on the environment and that emit less carbon throughout the manufacturing process.

“The green resins can be used in many applications such as coatings, automotive, wind energy, electronics and civil engineering,” said Spolchemie in a statement.

Another factor in the rising renewable chemical output is a pan-European drive away from nuclear energy and towards renewable sources such as wind power, said a market source.

“The Italian public’s rejection to restart a nuclear plant-building programme and the German government’s decision to stop using nuclear energy signals a clear direction towards renewable energy,” said a market source.

As wind turbines and their propellers are made out of epoxy resin, whose main feedstock is ECH, market experts expect an increase in epoxy resin demand driven by wind turbine production in the near future.

“An increase of 4,000-6,000 tonnes/year will not have a massive impact on the market, but it sends out a message that there is more and more demand for green products”, a market source said.

The price of conventional ECH currently stands €1,850-1,870/tonne ($2,681-2,710/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), according to ICIS.

($1 = €0.69)

For more on ECH visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By Janos Gal

By: Staff Reporter
+44 20 8652 3214

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