09 May 2013 12:17 [Source: ICIS news]
TAIPEI (ICIS)--The greatest potential for bio-based chemicals is in the development of “drop-in” intermediates, a consultant said on Thursday.
“The quickest commericalisation and largest opportunities will likely involve drop-in monomers and polymers that take advantage of existing industry infrastructure,” said Doris de Guzman, senior consultant at Tecnon Orbichem.
De Guzman spoke to delegates at the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) in Taiwan.
Drop-in chemicals refer to those that are virtually indistinguishable from petroleum-based chemicals, so that they can be processed in the same way rather than with new equipment.
These bio-based drop-in chemicals being developed include monoethylene glycol (MEG), paraxylene (PX), adipic acid, butadiene (BD) and caprolactam, noted de Guzman.
Developing these drop-in chemicals is one of three approaches to bio-based materials. Another includes building on naturally occurring materials such as glycerine and fatty acids from vegetable oils.
The other approach is the development of completely new compounds or polymers such as polyethylene furanoate (PEF), which can be used as an alternative to polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
“Bio-based chemicals are here to stay. Companies are now concentrating on using waste-based, non-food feedstocks such as sugarcane bagasse and switchgrass,” said de Guzman.
The APIC conference is being held in Taipei on 9-10 May.
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