Calling the venture the world's largest biopolymers play and Dow Chemical's biggest investment in Brazil, Dow and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. announced plans for what they say will be the world's largest integrated facility for the production of biopolymers made from renewable, sugar-cane derived ethanol. Luis Cirihal, Dow's Business Director for Green Alternatives and New Business Development for Latin America, told PlasticsToday that the first ethanol plant will have the capacity to produce 240,000 cubic meters of ethanol annually, which is equivalent to approxiately 190,000 tonnes.
As part of the deal, Mitsui would become a 50% equity interest partner in Dow's sugar cane growing operation in Santa Vitória, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Initially, the joint venture would include production of sugar cane-derived ethanol for use as a renewable feedstock source, bringing new, biomass-based feedstocks to Dow while diversifying its raw material streams from traditional fossil fuels. In 2007, Dow signed an agreement with Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol producer Crystalsev, announcing its intention at the time to pursue polyethylene from ethanol.