Expanding bioplastic collaboration

The chemical/plastic industry seems to be opening more and more to bioplastics collaboration as seen with the recent news from Gevo and Toray on bio-PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and today with Avantium and Solvay’s announcement to jointly develop green engineering plastics.

Gevo announced on June 27 that it has successfully produced 100% renewable-based PET using its isobutanol to make paraxylene (PX) in collaboration with Toray Industries. For more about the chemical chain to produce bio-PET, see the blog’s post on June 15.

Gevo said it had already provided the bio-isobutanol-based PX to international brand owners for evaluation. Some from the bioplastic industry has been speculating Gevo’s possible involvement with Coca-Cola but of course, that has not been confirmed.

“We believe there is strong customer demand for fully renewable, non-petroleum derived PET and we are working to fill that demand as soon as possible. Last month, we disclosed that we had provided renewable para-xylene to international brand owners for evaluation and the production of a fully renewable bottle from PET,” said Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., President and COO of Gevo. “We are pleased to have validated this technology with Toray and look forward to building a market for fully renewable PET as soon as possible.”

Gevo and Toray said they are moving from from lab-scale “proof of concept” to establishing commercial-scale operations for the bio-PX. Gevo is currently working with partners to optimize the process technology to produce PX from isobutanol at commercial-scale and competitive economics.

Meanwhile, Avantium said today that it will start collaborating with Belgium-based chemical company Solvay to develop bio-based high-performance polyamides for engineering plastics application using Avantium’s furanics building blocks YXY.

Solvay will test the polyamides for engineering applications in areas such as automotive and electronic materials. Solvay and Avantium said they have entered into a multi-year, exclusive collaboration towards commercialization of the new polyamides.

By the way, ICIS Chemical Business just published an article on bioplastics for its June 27 issue. It’s free for access!

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