Bio feedstocks gather momentum in performance plastics sector

The adoption of naturally derived feedstocks to manufacture non-biodegradable performance resins is gathering momentum. DuPont (Wilmington, DE), for one, is committed to the route in the long term while Germany's Lanxess (Leverkusen) has reported its first production campaign of bio-based polybutylene terephthalate (PBT).

The production run in question was at one of its world-scale production plants and employed 20 tonnes of bio-based 1,4-butanediol (BDO) feedstock manufactured using a commercial process from Genomatica (San Diego, CA). This BDO reportedly fully complied with the demanding Lanxess specifications for petro-based BDO, allowing a direct feed of 100% bio-based BDO into the continuous production process. Genomatica's BDO process technology converts sugars—a renewable feedstock—into BDO in a patented, 'direct' fermentation process.

The properties and the quality of the resulting bio-based PBT are fully equivalent to conventional petroleum-based PBT with regard to all tested parameters according to Lanxess. The world-scale PBT plant, with a capacity of 80,000 tonnes/yr, is located in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany, and operated as a joint venture in which Lanxess and DuPont each retain a 50% share....

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