I have already written several articles for ICIS News* and ICIS Chemical Business noting Elevance’s joint venture announcement in June with Indonesian oleochemical producer Wilmar. Talking to president and CEO K’Lynne Johnson as well as vice president of sales, Andy Shafer, at the BIO industrial biotech conference revealed more information about this announcement.
To start, the companies are building a 400m lb/year, which can be expanded to 800m lb/year, commercial-scale biorefinery located within Wilmar’s new integrated manufacturing complex now under construction in Surabaya, Indonesia. Johnson said both parties are expected to invest in building the plant although no figures were disclosed.
The biorefinery will use multiple renewable oil feedstocks, such as palm, mustard, soybean, jatropha or waste oils and will produce specialty chemicals, advanced biofuels and oleochemicals. The plant is expected to come online in 2011.
Elevance said they will start producing and marketing from the biorefinery 9-decenoic acid and esters as well as C18 dicarboxylic acids and esters. The dicarboxylic acids and esters will be produced using the intermediate chemical 9-decenoic acid. The companies will begin producing samples of both dicarboxylic acids and 9-decenoic acid and their esters for product qualification in the fourth quarter, and plan to sell truckload quantities in early 2011.
Johnson noted that their major goal is to produce cost- and performance-competitive chemicals from the biorefinery. She added that Elevance is already on the lookout for another opportunity to build additional biorefineries across Asia, South America and North America.
With regards to their announced demonstration facility to be built in Iowa, Johnson said the project has been put slightly on hold and is expected to move forward either later this year or early next year.
“We are trying to optimize the project’s configuration and making sure that we have the best optimal site as well,” said Johnson.
Elevance said the 2.6m gallon/year demo facility, which has a $2.5m grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) attached, will be used as a technology development unit where they can continue testing improvement on catalyst system as well as the use of new and alternative feedstock (such as algae oil) when they become available.
“That’s what the DOE is interested in, to focus on finding technology that could prove the economic use of alternative feedstock,” Johnson added.