Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Glory Biomaterial's first phase of biological PDO programme enters pilot production

In Jan. 2013, the 20,000t/a 1,3-propanediol (PDO) production line owned by Zhangjiagang Glory Biomaterial Co., Ltd. (Glory Biomaterial) entered pilot production, according to the latest report in Biomaterials China News issued by CCM in February.

The 20,000t/a PDO production line is just the first phase of the biological PDO programme of Glory Biomaterial. The biological PDO programme was started in Sept. 2011, with the planned capacity of 65,000t/a and a total investment of about USD24 million (RMB150 million). Glory Biomaterial was established specially for the biological PDO programme by Zhangjiagang Glory Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. (Glory Chemical) and Softbank China Venture Capital Ltd. (SBCVC). Glory Chemical is the domestic cooperative partner of DuPont to help DuPont produce its terephthalate (PTT) product—Sorona® with the capacity of 30,000t/a from 2006. PTT is a main downstream product of PDO and DuPont is a global leading PDO and PTT producer. SBCVC is a leading venture capital firm in Asia with headquarters in Singapore, and it invests in information technologies, health care, cleantech, new materials, retail, etc.

By cooperating with East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST), Glory Biomaterial has obtained its own invention patent after developing the production technology. According to its invention patent, PDO's extraction rate from fermentation broth can reach 92%. In general, most biological production engineering involves hydrolyzing the corn starch into glucose first and then processing glucose into PDO, while Glory Biomaterial's production technology is different, which uses glycerol as the raw material. With the development of biological diesel, a volume of glycerol is manufactured as a by-product, which has led to the decrease of glycerol prices. Therefore, the production cost of biological PDO from glycerol may be lower than that from corn starch. Meanwhile, glycerol is a non-food raw material.

The PDO programme may bring great benefit to the company.

A staff from Glory Chemical revealed that the contract between Glory Chemical and DuPont expired in April 2012, which means that Glory Chemical can produce and sell its own PDO and PTT products from May 2012. Mr. Han, General Manager of Glory Chemical, said that the company's development was seriously restricted when it cooperated with DuPont. In general, the company can produce 20,000 tonnes of PTT per year at a value of USD64 million, but the company's profit is only about USD1.6 million. Mr. Han estimated that once the whole programme is finished and the PDO plant and PTT plant are combined organically, the company's profit can potentially increase by more than ten-fold and reach approximately USD48 million.

In the 10th Five-Year Plan period (2001-2005), the PDO industry started to boom in China. In March 2002, Zouping Mingxing Chemical Co. Ltd. developed a chemical synthesis of PDO with a capacity of 6,500t/a. Subsequently, Anhui Lixing Chemical Co., Ltd., Fujian Shengda Biotechnology Co., Ltd., Chen Bio. Co. Ltd., Hunan Rivers Bioengineering Co., Ltd. and certain other enterprises all started to construct small-scale biological PDO production lines. Most of these biological producers have adopted the technology from Tsinghua University, which uses glycerol as the raw material. Currently, few of these producers' biological PDO businesses have been greatly developed. Shenhong Group, the domestic leading PTT producer with a capacity of 30,000t/a, says that it is also researching biological PDO and has achieved some results.

It is reported that China will become the largest producer and exporter of 1,3-PDO by 2019, since the growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region and low cost of raw material and labour may be attracting foreign PDO companies to enter China.

Table Contents of Biomaterials China News 1302:
Challenges in the biological package industry
Professor Gong: Production technology introduction and application of PLA fibre
Biological PET: A potential growth point of biological plastic industry
China's lyocell fibre commercialization may encounter trouble
Kingfa may greatly benefit from its biodegradable plastic programme in 2013
BrightChina cooperates with Weistek to develop 3D printing business
Shandong Polymer greatly developing bio-PAM
Glory Biomaterial's first phase of biological PDO programme enters pilot production
Overview of China's corn market in 2012
China's PLA trade becomes weaker in 2012
China's import volume of cassava increases fast in 2012
China's import volume of castor oil and its derivatives increases greatly in 2012
Yangzi Petrochemical finishes its 1,000t/a bio-SA programme
China's LDA Industry Technology Innovation Strategic Alliance established
Dow and Mitsui postpone sugarcane polymer plant
Rainbow Fine Chemical completes liquidation
NatureWorks sets up its first A/P regional headquarters in Bangkok
Rainbow Fine Chemical finishes liquidation
NatureWorks sets its first A/P regional headquarters in Bangkok

Biomaterials China News, with 12 to 14 topics in one issue, published by CCM on 8th every month, will bring you the latest information on the market dynamics, company dynamics, new biomaterials products, new biomaterials technology development, new legislations as well as policies and raw material supply dynamics, which are shaping the significant market intelligence of the industry.

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