28 January 2013 12:27 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Italy’s Versalis, the chemicals division of energy firm Eni, is forming a strategic partnership with US-based Yulex Corporation to build an industrial production complex in southern Europe to manufacture guayule-based biorubber materials, the companies said on Monday.
Information regarding the exact location of the plant and financial details of the investment were not disclosed. Construction and operating start-up dates were also not provided.
Versalis and agricultural-based biomaterials firm Yulex said guayule is a renewable, non-food crop that requires little water usage, no pesticides and is an alternative source of natural rubber.
The partnership will cover the entire manufacturing chain, from crop science to biorubber extraction to the construction of a biomass power station at the site. The companies added the investment will include a research project to develop technologies targeting the tyre industry.
Versalis said it plans to expand its technologies in the synthetic rubber business by including guayule rubber as a supplementary business opportunity and an increased commercial offering.
“The partnership with Yulex is strategic to Versalis, considering concerns over the forecasted scarcity in the butadiene market and volatility of this chemical, which in turn causes long-term pressure on the price of products like synthetic rubber,” said Daniele Ferrari, CEO of Versalis.
“All of our green chemistry partnerships aim to enhance Versalis’s bio-based portfolio and will feed oil-based production chains with high-performance intermediates from renewable feedstocks, in particular in the elastomers business,” he added.
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