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PET supplier to make ethylene glycol from straw

By: Michael Lauzon

November 21, 2013

PET resin major M&G Chemicals plans to invest in a biorefinery in China that will make PET building block ethylene glycol from straw.

M&G of Tortona, Italy, part of the Mossi Ghisolfi Group, said Nov. 21 it will build the biorefinery in Fuyang, in Anhui province with Chinese company Guozhen as partner. The plant will use enzyme technology supplied by Beta Renewables a company partly owned by Mossi Ghisolfi Group. M&G estimated the biorefinery will cost about $500 million and be on stream in mid-2015. Beta Renewables recently started up a biorefinery in Crescentino, Italy.

“This is the first act of a green revolution that M&G Chemicals is bringing to the polyester chain to provide environmental sustainability,” noted M&G Chemicals CEO Marco Ghisolfi in a news release. He cited growing demand for sustainable materials as evidenced by Coca-Cola Co.’s aim to use partially plant-based PET in all its bottles by 2020.

The Chinese biorefinery will process 2.2 billion pounds of straw annually. In addition to ethylene glycol it will make ethanol and byproduct lignin will fuel an electric cogeneration plant.

M&G plans to raise about $500 million in an initial public offering on the Hong Kong exchange by the end of the year. It has PET production capacity of 3.5 billion pounds per year in Brazil, Mexico and the United States, where it runs a plant in Apple Grove, W.Va., and is building a large operation in Corpus Christi, Texas.

M&G has been clashing with Invista over patent litigation brought by Invista regarding Invista’s PolyShield brand of PET resin.