By Malini Hariharan

Work on commercialising a green route to paraxylene (PX) purified terphthalic acid (PTA) and other aromatics is speeding up.

US companies are at the forefront of recent developments. Virent is looking to produce a sugar-based ­aromatics stream containing benzene, toluene and xylenes using traditional chemical ­catalytic processing, writes fellow blogger Doris de Guzman in the latest issue of ICIS Chemical Business.

The company expects to have its first ­commercial-scale bio-PX plant on line by 2015.

Gevo plans to produce bio-based PX by converting fermentation-derived isobutanol to PX and is targeting commercial production by 2014. The company has already tied-up with Coca-Cola and Toray Industries, which claimed in November last year that it was able to develop the world’s first 100% bio-PET fiber in a laboratory scale using Gevo’s bio-PX.

Another US company, Avantium, is developing a new sugar-based monomer called furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which can be reacted with monoethylene glycol (MEG) to make polyethylene furanoate (PEF), an alternative to PET resin.

Even SABIC is not ignoring the green wave, and has filed a patent claiming PX production via use of terpenes such as limonene found in citrus fruits.

However, the new routes come with many disadvantages and work still needs to be done on oensuring commercial viability.

Eric Bober of Nexant ChemSystems points out that capital expenditures for the initial commercial plants will be high, as these are first-of-a-kind plants as opposed to the ‘nth’ plant status of petrochemical facilities. A world-scale conventional PX plant is now 1m tonnes/year and likely four times as large as a bio-PX line.

Bio-derived products will likely locate near the available renewable feedstocks, which could increase logistics costs relative to the conventional supply chain.

Despite these issues, the enthusiasm for these new routes is still strong given the support from consumer product companies that are willing to pay a premium for these ‘green’ products. But will this continue in the changing economic climate where the focus is clearly on cutting costs?

PREVIOUS POST

China Polyester Chain Weakens

15/03/2012

By Malini Hariharan The polyester chain is feeling the strain of poor Chine...

Learn more
NEXT POST

Inventories And Price Recoveries

16/03/2012

By John Richardson THE role of inventory management in European petrochemic...

Learn more
More posts
Global polyethylene demand in 2020 at risk of 2.4m decline because of coronavirus
19/02/2020

By John Richardson I AM a bit confused this morning following some excitement about the Chinese deci...

Read
Coronavirus: Global polypropylene demand in 2020 could fall by 2.6m tonnes over last year
17/02/2020

By John Richardson SOME GOOD news might be that official Chinese state media announced that the numb...

Read
Coronavirus threatens 2.9m tonnes of China PP demand as uncertainties increase
14/02/2020

By John Richardson THE RUMOURS travelled around my contacts, and I am sure many of your contacts, fo...

Read
More than 3m tonnes of Chinese polyethylene demand at risk from coronavirus
08/02/2020

    By John Richardson THE GOOD news is that medical experts believe the novel coronavirus...

Read
Coronavirus: Global polyester chain faces major production cuts, shortages and cost increases
07/02/2020

By John Richardson A GREAT example of the extent to which global supply chains are exposed to China ...

Read
Coronavirus: Global polyolefins cutbacks seem inevitable on major China demand loss
05/02/2020

We all hope that the coronavirus outbreak will soon be brought under control, that’s the main ...

Read
Why coronavirus will be a much bigger deal for petrochemicals than SARS
02/02/2020

By John Richardson THE WORLD was very different in 2003 when SARS struck. Back then, China accounted...

Read
China 2020 polyethylene demand 4.1m tonnes lower on single-use plastics ban and coronavirus
27/01/2020

By John Richardson CHINA was supposed to be the one polyethylene (PE) market we could all depend on ...

Read

Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more

Analytics

Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more