Dow and Mitsui postpone sugarcane polymer plant

Bob Moser

Published: January 10, 2013 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability Materials Suppliers
Companies & Associations

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL (Jan. 10, 1:30 p.m. ET) — Dow Chemical Co. and Japanese trading company Mitsui & Co. Ltd. will postpone plans to build a plant for sugarcane ethanol-based plastics, citing rising design and construction costs and land ownership laws in Brazil for the indefinite delay, Plastics News confirmed this week.

The green plastics project, first announced in 2007, had been slated to break ground this year on a biopolymers facility in Santa Vitoria, Minas Gerais state, at a projected cost of US$1.5 billion. Dow formed a joint venture with Mitsui in July 2011, with plans to plant and harvest their own sugarcane, build an ethanol plant with 2.7 million metric tons of cane capacity, and follow it with an ethanol-to-ethylene and biopolymers plant. The entire complex was originally slated to begin operating later this year.

Dow told Plastics News it and Mitsui will postpone phase two, building the plastics plant. The first phase, which includes expanding sugarcane plantations and building an ethanol plant, remains on schedule. The companies currently have about 50,000 acres of first-generation cane growing and plan to harvest in 2014.

“The Santa Vitoria project is of high strategic importance to Down and Mitsui, and the construction of the first phase for sugarcane ethanol production is proceeding as scheduled,” Midland, Mich.-based Dow said. “The two companies continue to work together to mitigate and eliminate barriers to proceed with the second phase as soon as possible.”

Since 2007, a handful of other ethanol-based plastics projects have been announced in Brazil, but only Braskem SA has been able to follow through. Its first “green” plastics factory began operating in the second half of 2010, in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul state. Braskem has announced plans for a second polyethylene plant in Brazil’s center-south region and a third plant for ethanol-based polypropylene, but firm details on either project haven’t been provided.

During IHS’ Latin American Petrochemicals & Polymers Conference, held in May in São Paulo, Braskem and Dow officials said “green” PE easily draws a premium of 40 percent or more from clients eager for an enviro-marketing edge, and Braskem’s product was already cost-competitive with naphtha.

South America remains a net PE importer, with 2.6 million tons imported in 2011 and an average annual growth rate of 6.6 percent expected by IHS through 2016. Brazil’s PE imports should grow at 9 percent per year, reaching 1.2 million tons by 2016.

In the short term, Dow will focus on its most profitable segments, particularly in the United States with shale gas reserves. Dow is investing $4 billion in the U.S. Gulf Coast to boost ethylene and propylene capacity through 2017.


Comments

Dow and Mitsui postpone sugarcane polymer plant

Bob Moser

Published: January 10, 2013 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Jaguar Land Rover to begin using MuCell across its product line

April 27, 2015 9:47 am ET

Another automaker has announced plans to use Trexel Inc.'s MuCell molding technology in future production.    More

Image

PolyOne launches Geon BIO PVC using soy-based materials

April 24, 2015 11:48 am ET

More than a decade of research is paying off for Battelle Memorial Institute in the form of Geon BIO PVC compounds from PolyOne Corp.    More

Image

California may require more recycled content in bottles

April 24, 2015 11:16 am ET

California lawmakers are considering a pair of bills that would bump up the required recycled content in plastic bottles for beverage companies to...    More

Image

KHS cuts packaging with direct printing on PET bottles, adhesive multi-packs

April 23, 2015 1:39 pm ET

KHS GmbH has been pouring a lot of time into solving issues related to direct printing on PET bottles, and after eight years of work, everyone...    More

Image

DuPont center in India gets LEED Certification

April 23, 2015 1:07 pm ET

DuPont Co.'s Knowledge Center in Hyderabad, India, was awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.    More

Market Reports

North American Thermoformed Packaging Market Outlook & Review 2015

Our annual report provides a thorough review and analysis of economic and political conditions, emerging market trends, packaging design advances, materials pricing and sustainable packaging issues impacting supply and demand in the TP segment. Our analysts identify key drivers of growth and opportunities for processors to remain competitive in the years ahead through innovation, production efficiencies and more.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events