bioplastics daily news
  • thyssenkrupp commissions first commercial bioplastics plant for COFCO in China


    To reduce reliance on petroleum-based plastics, thyssenkrupp has developed a process for manufacturing polylactide (PLA), a biopolyester increasingly used in packaging and other applications.

    aThe world’s first commercial plant based on the patented PLAneo technology recently started production in Changchun, China. It is operated by the Jilin COFCO Biomaterial Corporation, a subsidiary of COFCO, China’s largest food and beverage group. The new plant produces all standard PLA types, among other things for the production of eco-friendly packaging, fibers, textiles and engineering plastics.
    Sami Pelkonen, CEO of the Electrolysis & Polymers Technologies business unit of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solution, expects the bioplastics market to continue to grow in the coming years, ‘not least due to the increasing environmental awareness of industry,
    governments and consumers’, he said. “With our PLAneo technology we want to do our abit to make the plastics sector more sustainable and resource-friendly. With it we enable our customers to produce high-quality bioplastics with a wide range of properties – at a price that is competitive with conventional plastics.”
    Polyactide (PLA) is a 100% bio-based and compostable plastic which thanks to its physical and mechanical properties can replace conventional oil-based polymers in many areas. The starting material for PLA production is lactic acid, which is recovered from renewable resources such as sugar, starch or cellulose.
    PLAneo technology converts lactic acid into PLA in a particularly efficient and resource-friendly way. Another advantage is its transferability to large-scale plants with capacities of up to 100,000 tons per year. In developing the technology, thyssenkrupp’s subsidiary Uhde Inventa-Fischer profited from decades of expertise gained from the construction of more than 400 polymerization plants and extensive experience in the scale-up of new
    technologies. For the new plant in Changchun, thyssenkrupp provided the engineering, key plant components and supervision of construction and commissioning.

    Images: New PLA plant in Changchun, China; PLA products
    Image credit: thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions)

  • First biobased coating hardener for lightfast polyurethane coatings


    At eMove360° Europe 2018, the international trade fair for Mobility 4.0 in Munich, Covestro was awarded one of the coveted MATERIALICA Design + Technology Awards 2018. With the world's first biobased hardener for lightfast polyurethane coatings, the company managed to prevail in the "CO2 Efficiency" category.

    mFor years, Covestro has been increasingly using alternative raw materials to manufacture its products, also to reduce its own dependence on fossil resources. The material manufacturer is thus meeting the growing interest in products on this basis and is presenting itself as a pioneer in terms of sustainability.

    Covestro experts Hiep Tran (second from right) and Nusret 
    Yuval (second from left) are much pleased about receiving the MATERIALICA 
    Design +Technology Award 2018, in the "CO2 Efficiency" category. 

    Improved ecological footprint

     "Our hardener is of similar high quality to its petrochemical counterparts," explains Hiep Tran, project manager for the biobased hardener in the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment at Covestro. "With a biomass proportion of 70 percent, however, it achieves a 30 percent better ecological footprint than comparable fossil products.”

    In addition, its properties are also comparable, enabling processors to use formulated coatings on their systems with minimal adaptation costs. Coatings based on Desmodur eco N are equally suitable for automotive, plastics, wood, furniture and industrial coatings.

    Promising drop-in solution
    Along with alternative raw materials, industries such as the automotive industry rely above all on energy savings and the possibility of using existing processes and plants – at competitive prices for the products they use.

    The polyurethane raw material Desmodur eco meets all these requirements: The hardener is produced from fermented feed maize and thus conserves fossil resources. Compared to conventional products, several process steps are saved during its manufacture.

    First near-series car paint job
    Last year, a project team consisting of employees from the vehicle manufacturer Audi, the BASF Coatings division and Covestro reached a new milestone: for the first time, Audi Q2 test bodies were successfully coated with a clear coat of the bio-based hardener. The application took place at the Ingolstadt plant under near-series conditions on existing systems. One of the vehicles was exhibited at the European Coatings Show from 4 to 6 April 2017 in Nuremberg.

    Desmodur eco N is just the beginning: Covestro is expanding its product range to include a large number of variants with different properties – such as the recently launched water-soluble product Bayhydur eco, which is perfectly tailored to the requirements of high-performance waterborne coatings. At the same time, Covestro and its partners are working on the development of next-generation biobased raw materials from cellulose and waste biomass.

    Renowned award
    The MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award is presented to products and concepts that meet demanding criteria such as intelligent material selection, competent engineering, a high degree of innovation and convincing design. The prize has been awarded since 2003 and addresses designers and engineers alike. eMove360° Europe 2018 is one of the world's leading technology trade fairs for sustainable mobility solutions.

  • Anellotech announces commercial plant engineering plans


    Sustainable technology company Anellotech confirms significant progress in its Bio-TCatTM technology development program

    mThe company has begun planning for scale-up design and engineering of a commercial plant with its process development and design partner IFPEN and commercialization, engineering, and licensing partner Axens.

    Anellotech is pioneering an innovative manufacturing process to produce cost-competitive renewable chemicals and fuels from non-food biomass. Its patented Bio-TCat thermal-catalytic technology produces a mixture of benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) which can be used to make important polymers such as polyester, polycarbonate, and nylon, or high-octane gasoline blendstock. Jacobs, a globally respected engineering firm, recently confirmed that the Bio-TCat process enables a CO2 emission reduction potential of 70-90% when compared to petroleum-derived equivalents. Co-product gas streams from Bio-TCat can be used to make significant amounts of renewable electricity, hydrogen or cellulosic ethanol using third-party technologies.

    Commercially-viable process yields and catalyst performance has now been achieved at economic design conditions at Anellotech’s TCat-8 pilot unit in Silsbee, Texas. TCat-8 has demonstrated consistently stable operation of major process steps and recycle loops, with highly-accurate analytic confirmation. These attractive results have been achieved with real-world commercial feedstock, loblolly pine recently harvested from Georgia forests. Anellotech’s MinFree pretreatment process, operational at multi-ton scale, has been used to ensure low mineral content in the TCat-8 feedstock which is critical for catalyst performance.

    TCat-8 has operated for over 2,000 hours with continuous catalyst circulation including a fluid bed reactor, catalyst stripper, catalyst regenerator, quench tower, and recycle compressor. The pilot plant is operating mass balance closures of 100% +/-2%, and regularly completes uninterrupted 24/7 runs. The TCat-8 unit operates inside a commercial chemical facility that is OSHA PSM compliant.

    David Sudolsky, President & CEO of Anellotech, said, “Our TCat-8 unit consistently demonstrates stable, economic performance as we continue to further optimize process conditions. These advancements come from the dedicated and coordinated efforts of Anellotech, IFPEN and Johnson Matthey engineers and scientists. We are excited to begin commercial plant engineering activities with our partner Axens and open up engagement with potential partners for investments and locations for the first commercial plant.”

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