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Elevance planning another biofeedstocks plant

By: Frank Esposito

October 23, 2013

Less than a year after opening its plant in Indonesia, Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc. has announced plans to open another bioplastics feedstock plant in Natchez, Miss., by 2016.

Current customer interest in the firm's Inherent-brand biofeedstocks – which can be used to make nylon, polyurethane and other plastic and non-plastic products – "calls for demand to exceed (the Indonesian plant's) capacity," chief executive officer K'Lynne Johnson said in an Oct. 22 news release.

"Customer activity continues to increase in each of our market platforms," she added. "By building bio-refineries in multiple geographies, we are able to meet customer demand for better-performing, cost-competitive renewable alternatives to petrochemicals across multiple industries."

The plant in Gresik, Indonesia, opened earlier this year. Woodridge, Ill.-based Elevance is operating the plant through a joint venture with agribusiness group Wilmar International Ltd. Of Singapore.

The firm already has invested $30 million at an existing biofuels refinery in Natchez that it bought from Delta BioFuels Inc. in 2011. Improvements have tripled production of existing operations there and transformed those operations from batch to continuous operations.

The Natchez biorefinery will initially operate using canola or soybean oil, officials said. The Gresik biorefinery is now operating on palm oil. Both plants are capable of running on multiple renewable oil feedstocks.

The Gresik site has annual capacity of almost 400 million pounds. The planned project in Natchez will have annual capacity of almost 620 million pounds.

Both plants use those feedstocks to make a diacid. 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.

Elevance already has development deals in place with materials firms Arkema Group and Clariant International Ltd.