My colleague Clay Boswell has been sending me news from Toyota Tsusho for the past several days now about the company planning to setup an integrated bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply chain using bioethanol as feedstock source.
First of all, I recalled Toyota Tsusho as one of Braskem’s bio-PE marketing partners focused specifically for the Asian market so I guess that solves some of the upstream supply chain puzzle. Based in Nagoya City, Japan, Toyota Tsusho is a trading company setup by the Toyota Group.
On October 7, Toyota Tsusho announced their formation of a 50-50 joint venture deal with Taiwan-based chemical company China Man-made Fiber Corp. (CMFC) to establish Greencol Taiwan Corp. (GTC), which will produce and sell monoethylene glycol (MEG) using sugar-based ethanol as feedstock.
The ethanol will be secured by Toyota Tsusho from Brazil. Greencol will produce the bio-MEG in a new facility in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, which is scheduled to start in late 2011.
The bio-MEG will be handled and supplied by Toyota Tsusho to PET toll manufacturers in Asia, and the off-take bio-PET will then be marketed by the company to end users in Japan, Europe and the US. Capacity of the bio-MEG was not disclosed but Toyota Tsusho expects to toll-produce and sell 200,000 tons/year of bio-PET by late 2011.
Here is how it would look like:
The company expects their bio-PET capacity to increase to 1m tons/year in the near future depending on the growth of bio-PET market. Toyota Tsusho estimated the global PET demand in 2009 at 45m tons/year and is expected to grow by 8%/year to 60m tons/year as of 2015, with demand mostly coming from developing countries for the next 5 years.
“It is anticipated that bio-PET demand will account for 5% of this global market at 2.25m-3m tons/year.” – Toyota Tshusho
In terms of specific Bio-PET applications, Toyota Tshusho will also sell bio-PET based textiles for vehicle interiors, which are co-developed with Toyota Motor. Toyota Tshusho will also develop bio-based PET bottles with end customers.
PET is made from 70% purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and 30% MEG by weight. So I guess, there is still the 70% material waiting for bio-based sourcing unless Avantium will step in to replace that with their 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA).