The blog will be offline for the next two weeks as I travel to Singapore and Philippines for both work and play. Yeah!
I’m going to try to post as much as I can before Monday, so here’s one about soybean-based chemicals – one of those markets I’ve been covering since 2000 when I was the “oils, fats, & wax” editor for the former Chemical Market Reporter =).
US-based science and technology organization Battelle said it has licensed its soybean-based polyols used for making foams, coatings and adhesives to Malaysia-based Emery Oleochemicals, which will exclusively produce the chemical in North and South America and Western Europe.
To know more about Emery Oleochemicals, ICIS Chemical Business (the magazine I work for) actually has a recent article about the company which is free for access.
Polyols, according to Battelle, are multifunctional alcohols that are reactive oxygen-hydrogen compounds and are widely used especially for the production of polyurethanes (PU) and polyesters. They can also be used as a starting point for high-performance ester lubricants. Battelle has collaborated with the Ohio Soybean Council and the United Soybean (USB) Council for the development of the polyols as well as other soybean-based chemicals and products.
In a 2010 market research report by consulting firm OmniTech International and funded by the USB, soy polyols used for PU application are said to be more cost-effective compared with petrochemical-based polyols although in some high performance applications, soy polyols still do not yet provide cost/performance advantage to be viable substitute for crude oil/natural gas-based polyols.
North American (NAFTA) demand by the PU industry for all types of polyols are reportedly at 2.4bn lbs in 2009. North American demand accounts for 1/3 of the global polyols market.
Companies who are now producing/selling soy polyols include Urethane Soy Systems, Biobased Technologies, Dow Chemical, Cargill and MCPU Polymer Engineering. Actually, the blog just received an announcement from BioBased Technologies that their Agrol and Agrol Diamond soy polyols have been given certified biobased product label by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
If readers recall from a past post on the USDA biobased labels, these indicates that the products have been independently certified to meet the USDA Biopreferred program standards for biobased content. According to Biobased Technologies, Agrol has 99% biobased carbon content and Agrol Diamond has 86% biobased content.
According to OmniTech, the use of soy oil-derived polyols in North America could increase to 620m lbs during the next five years. This would equate to oil from 56m bushels of soybeans.
Another soy chemical related news is from Cargill who said that it has made a $2.6m investment in its existing oils production facility in Wichita, Kansas, to enable the company to produce soybean oil-based electrical insulation fluid at the site. The company will manufacture Cooper Power Systems Envirotem FR3 dielectric fluid used in energy transformers.
As previously mentioned, Cargill is also into soy-polyols trademarked BiOH. The blog posted in October 2009 some of the developments in soy foam market.