15 March 2012 19:45 [Source: ICIS news]
PRAIA DO FORTE, BRAZIL (ICIS)--Dow Chemical expects to finalise negotiations with Japan’s Mitsui & Co to build a 50:50 joint venture bio-based polyethylene (PE) project in Brazil by the end of this year, an executive with the US-based group said on Thursday.
“We intend to close the remaining negotiations by the end of 2012,” said Luis Cirihal, Dow business director for renewable alternatives and business development in Latin America.
Cirihal spoke to delegates at the 6th EBDQUIM conference hosted by Associquim/Sincoquim (Brazilian Association of Chemical and Petrochemical Distributors).
The remaining negotiations will involve “expanding the joint venture to take it to the eventual production of biopolymers”, he said. The PE production, which will be based on sugarcane ethanol, could potentially start up in 2015, he added.
The joint venture has an agricultural operation in Santa Vitoria in Minas Gerais, southeast Brazil, which was developed after the project was conceived by Dow in 2007/2008.
The rest of the sugarcane-to-PE project will be implemented in phases. Cirihal did not discuss details of the project but he told ICIS last year that the first phase was expected to involve augmenting the supporting sugarcane farm fields and construction of the first ethanol mill, which would deliver 240m litres/year of ethanol capacity.
Construction of the mill is underway and production is set to begin in 2013.
The next phase would involve doubling the ethanol capacity plus construction of an ethanol dehydration unit to produce ethylene and a polymerisation unit based on Dow's solution PE technology. The PE plant is expected to have a capacity of at least 350,000 tonnes/year.
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