Can corn be made into polypropylene? The first world-scale sustainable biopropene project to go into production in 2026!

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    An important logic of bio-based chemicals or synthetic biology is the use of non-petrochemical sources to manufacture chemicals, biopropene is highly anticipated, after all, biopropene is widely used, data show that in 2022 China’s propylene production 43.338 million tons, is expected in 2023 China’s propylene new production capacity of 10.17 million tons / year, reaching 67.938 million tons / year. While downstream polypropylene production is 29.655 million tons, global polypropylene global production is as high as 80.296.5 thousand tons/year, an absolute hundreds of billions of dollars market.

    Not long ago LG announced a joint R&D agreement with North American environmental fuel company Gevo, in which Gevo is responsible for providing bio-ethanol (Bio-Ethanol) manufacturing propylene (Propylene) technology, while LG Chem aims to commercialize bio-propylene (Propylene) by 2026 through joint research and plant construction.

    Petrochemical giant Braskem said it is evaluating investments to produce carbon-negative bio-based polypropylene (PP) in the U.S., also using bioethanol for eventual conversion to bio-based PP.

    According to global market research firm Nova Institute, bio-based plastics production will reach 4.5 million tons in 2023 and is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 14 percent through 2027, and as the largest volume of polyethylene and polypropylene, the market is really enticing.

    Polypropylene, is one of the cheapest and most commonly used plastics. It is non-absorbent, highly heat resistant and impact resistant, and generally does not leach any chemicals into food, so it has very little damaging effect on human health.

    The material is currently used in a variety of industries, including medicine, automotive, and packaging, and is mainly used in a wide variety of everyday items, such as plastic packaging, bottle caps, and yogurt pots.

    The carbon footprint of the production of polypropylene is much smaller than that of many other types of plastics. The material also takes much less time to degrade, taking only about 20 to 30 years, compared to more than 500 years for plastics such as polyethylene or polystyrene.

    And polypropylene is also fully recyclable, releasing no toxic chemicals during the recycling process. It should be noted, however, that while recycling polypropylene is a good option, only about 1 percent of polypropylene is currently recycled worldwide, with the vast majority of the rest going to landfill.

    Based on these properties and advantages, there is a growing interest in this material and demand for it is on the rise. In addition, a number of process technology developers and chemical product manufacturers, among others, are actively exploring renewable polypropylene.

    Recently, Lummus Technology and Citroniq Chemicals announced that they have signed a letter of intent to use Lummus’ VerdeneTM polypropylene technology suite to develop Citroniq Chemicals’ green polypropylene program in North America.
    Lummus is proud to partner with Citroniq to bring to market this innovative and sustainable technology that will facilitate the further decarbonization of our industry,” said Leon de Bruyn, president and CEO of Lummus Technology. leader in polypropylene technology, and we can serve as a ‘launch pad’ for Citroniq’s green, carbon-negative polypropylene to meet the growing demand for products made with sustainable materials.”

    Citroniq Chemicals’ green polypropylene is manufactured through Citroniq Chemicals’ E2O process, according to the company. The process begins by processing corn into ethanol, a sustainable biofeedstock, and sequestering the carbon dioxide absorbed by the corn in the liquid product through photosynthesis, while the ethanol is processed into polypropylene, water and byproducts. The process eliminates the use of traditional fossil fuel hydrocarbons and enables a carbon-negative balance throughout the product’s life cycle.

    Citroniq Chemicals is expected to invest more than $5 billion in the project, with a combined annual polypropylene capacity of more than £3.5 billion, and will establish the first world-scale sustainable biopropene production process in North America, according to the company.

    Citroniq Chemicals currently plans to build four plants, the first of which is located in the Midwest and is scheduled to begin production in 2026 with products that can be physically tested and certified as directly bio-sourced.

    The first plant will sequester approximately 1.2 million tons of CO2 per year in the form of solid polypropylene pellets, providing customers with impactful solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and meet their ‘environmental, social and governance’ goals,” said Kelly Knopp, co-founder of Citroniq Chemicals. ‘ goals by providing impactful solutions for customers to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve their ‘environmental, social and governance’ goals.”

    Meanwhile, Mel Badheka, Citroniq Chemicals’ other co-founder, said, “The company is poised to execute a rapid expansion plan for its E2O process to meet the growing market demand for sustainable, carbon-negative polypropylene at a competitive price. “
    Lummus Technology, founded in 1907, is known to be a company with a history of more than 110 years. It has developed more than 140 technologies and 3,400 patents and patent applications, making it a developer of process technologies focused on a more sustainable, low-carbon future. The company has a reputation as a leading licensor of clean energy, petrochemical, refining, natural gas processing and renewable technologies, as well as a provider of catalysts, proprietary equipment, digitalization and related lifecycle services to customers worldwide for the development of process technologies.

    Citroniq Chemicals is a company founded in 2020 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, the first city in the United States. The company is leading the energy transition through the large-scale production of carbon-negative materials. Its bio-based raw materials and cutting-edge technology make it possible to use the E2O process to reduce greenhouse gases. As mentioned above, the process not only reduces carbon emissions, but also helps companies meet their greenhouse gas reduction commitments by permanently sequestering carbon dioxide in useful plastic pellets.

    The partnership between these two companies exemplifies the importance of sustainability and the positive role innovative technologies can play in driving change, not only paving the way for the development of green polypropylene and providing sustainable alternatives to traditional plastics, but also helping to drive the industry to take an important step toward a more sustainable, low-carbon future.

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