M&G Group prepares for bio-PET commercialization

21 February 2012 05:18  [Source: ICIS news]

ORLANDO, Florida (ICIS)--Italian polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producer M&G Group plans to enter the bio-PET market as it develops lignocellulosic-based feedstock ethylene glycol (EG), paraxylene (PX) and other polyester feedstock, a company official said on Monday.

M&G has recently created a new biochemicals business unit that will handle developments and future commercialization of biobased ethanol and bio-polyester feedstocks EG, PX and bio-based purified terephthalic acid (PTA).

M&G’s development for bio-EG, their first step towards their bio-PET goal, has now been accomplished, said Cecile Bourland, director at M&G Group.

Bourland spoke during a bioplastic seminar hosted by US consulting firm Jim Lunt & Associates in conjunction with the annual polylactic acid (PLA) conference “Innovation Takes Roots” held by US PLA producer NatureWorks in Orlando, Florida.

“We are starting up in March 2012 our 3 kg/hr BioEG pilot plant in Rivalta, Italy,” said Bourland.

“This will enable the design of large-scale biorefineries in the near future,” she added

M&G’s ultimate goal is to develop, produce and market 100% renewable-based second generation PET.

“Bio-PET for us is a long term vision and high investment capacity due to M&G’s unique position in the PET business. We’ve been in the PET business for a long time and we’re here to stay,” said Bourland.

To make bio-EG, the company will use lignocellulosic-based ethanol. M&G is building a 44,000 tonne/year (13m gal/year) industrial-scale bioethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy, which will start operation by mid-2012.

The facility uses the PROESA technology platform, owned by M&G’s engineering and research and development business Chemtex. The PROESA technology enables the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into sugar using only steam, water and enzyme.

Bourland said the Chemtex business will enable the company to come up with industrial and more practical solutions in making 100% bio-based PET.

M&G is currently looking to invest in Mexico or Brazil for another second generation ethanol facility as well as a chemicals production unit that will initially produce bio-based glycols and at a later stage, bio-PX and PTA.

The biorefinery is expected to have 350,000 tonnes/year cellulosic ethanol, and 100,000-150,000 tonnes/year bio-glycols capacity. The biorefinery could be up and running in 2015, said Bourland.

“100% of the bio-EG output will be taken to M&G on a long term basis for use at M&G PET plants in the Americas,” Bourland added.

By: Doris de Guzman
+1 713 525 2653

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