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Elevance commercializes bio-based diacid

By: Frank Esposito

September 17, 2013

Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc. has commercialized bio-feedstocks at its plant in Gresik, Indonesia, that can be used to make nylon, polyurethane and other products.

The plant uses palm oil as a feedstock to make a diacid. That material then can be used to make new grades of nylon and PU with improved hydrolytic stability, better solvent resistance, and improved toughness and optical clarity, Elevance’s Celene DiFrancia said in a Sept. 16 phone interview. DiFrancia serves as engineered polymers and coatings platform leader for the Woodridge, Ill.-based firm.

New types of nylon and PU made with the Elevance diacid can be used to make numerous products in the automotive, electrical/electronic, consumer goods and sporting goods markets, she added. Of these end markets, automotive “would have the highest value” if the materials are used in under-hood parts and other applications, DiFrancia said.

“This is a new monomer to make a different set of polymers with a higher level of performance,” added Andy Shafer, the firm’s executive vice president of sales and market development.

Previously, other bio-based nylons have used castor oil as a feedstock, but DiFrancia said those materials have “a limited supply chain.”

Woodridge, Ill.-based Elevance opened the Indonesian plant earlier this year. Materials made there now will be marketed to existing producers of nylon and PU, as well as makers of other products such as lubricants and adhesives. Elevance is operating the plant through a joint venture with agribusiness group Wilmar International Ltd. Of Singapore.

Elevance already has development deals in place with materials firms Arkema Group and Clariant International Ltd. The firm also plans to add bio-feedstock capacity at a biofuels refinery in Natchez, Miss., that it acquired from Delta BioFuels Inc. in 2011, Shafer said.