Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in the Americas and a world leader in the production of biopolymers, and Haldor Topsoe, a global leader in supply of catalysts, technology, and services for the chemical and refining industries, have announced that they achieved their first-ever demo-scale production of bio-based monoethylene glycol (MEG). As a result of the collaboration between the two companies, the MOSAIK™ technology development has been progressing according to schedule at the demonstration unit located in Lyngby, Denmark.
The demonstration unit was started up in 2019 with the primary goal to demonstrate all key design features of the pioneering technology that transforms sugar into renewable MEG. Since then, the remaining process units of the plant have been built and put into operation, and the production process has been optimized.
MEG is a raw material for PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which has numerous applications and is an essential feedstock in sectors such as textiles and packaging, especially beverage bottles. Currently, MEG is predominantly made from fossil-based feedstocks, such as naphtha, gas, or coal. The global MEG market represents a value of approximately US$ 25 billion.
The technology will also co-produce, in a lower quantity, monopropylene glycol (MPG), which has a wide variety of applications ranging from unsaturated polyester resins (UPR), commonly used in construction materials, to cosmetic products.
The next phase will involve providing samples to strategic partners for testing and validation. The results of the demonstration plant operations and the validation of products will be essential for the decision to deploy the technology on a commercial scale.
The development of bio-MEG is strategic to Braskem. “This first-ever production of MOSAIK™-MEG is a major step forward in our project and underlines Braskem’s commitment to the Circular Economy through renewable chemicals. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the PET market. That’s why we are increasingly closer to start building this new value chain, so we can deliver the sustainable solution that society is looking for”, says Gustavo Sergi, executive officer of Renewable Chemicals and Specialties at Braskem.
“We are extremely pleased to have achieved the first production of bio-based MEG together with Braskem. Topsoe’s strategic vision is to deliver technologies to reduce or even eliminate carbon emissions from the production of fuels and chemicals. Advancing technologies to produce bio-based chemicals and making them a commercially attractive option is an essential step on the way to a more sustainable future,” says Kim Knudsen, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at Haldor Topsoe.