Bio-latex rises as alternative to styrene butadiene materials

23 February 2012 19:39  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS)--Executives from Canada-based renewable chemicals firm EcoSynthetix and US starch derivatives producer Penford highlighted on Thursday the growing market potential for starch-derived latex as replacement for styrene butadiene latex in adhesives and resins.

EcoSynthetix CEO John van Leeuwen noted that the global paper coating industry uses over 4bn lbs (1.8m tonnes)/year of petroleum-based binders, which are valued at $5.6bn €4.3bn).

Leeuwen spoke at the Jefferies Global Clean Technology conference in New York City.

“The global paper coating industry continues to see growth of 5%/year through 2014. The top paper companies continue to look for alternatives to petroleum-based latex given the volatility of raw materials styrene and butadiene,” said Leeuwen.

EcoSynthetix said manufacturers representing more than 60% of the global paper and paperboard market are already evaluating or using the company’s EcoSphere bio-latex binders made from starch because of its cost-competitiveness, improved performance and reduced carbon footprint.

The company began commercial production in 2008. EcoSynthetix expanded its 75m lb/year global capacity with an additional 80m lb/year at its facility at Oosterhout, the Netherlands, in November, and a new 80m lb/year facility in Tennessee, US, which will start operations in the first quarter of 2012.

The company’s starch-based latex can substitute up to 60% of styrene butadiene-latex used in binders, said Leeuwen.

Penford CEO Thomas Malkoski also noted that the company’s starch-based latex can also replace between 30-60% of petroleum-based latex in binder formulations.

Coating binders are used in products such as catalogues, brochures, packaging board and publication papers.

Penford said its starch-based binders help customers reduce the effects of price volatility of petrochemicals such as styrene and butadiene.

“Even for a 50-cent corn starch price, our binders can be cost competitive with petroleum-based latex when oil price is at $60/bbl,” said Malkoski.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Brian Ford
+1 713 525 2653

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