Matrýca opens bio-based chemistry project based on thistles

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Matrica Spa Matrýca SpA will use the oil from thistles as the base of its new chemical plant on Sardinia.

Italy’s Matrìca SpA, has officially opened the first of its green chemistry plants which will convert vegetable oils into monomers and intermediates, the base products for the production of plastisizers and other complex bio-products.

Over the next months, another two plants being built at the new Matrìca complex in Porto Torres on the island of Sardinia will come on-line.

The project will use the oil from thistles — used in local honey production when they are flowering — to transform into monomers and intermediates for bio-lubricants, plastisizers and other products, as well as using the stem in biocomposites.

The three plants will see a total global investment of about 180 million euros ($244 million) says the company, and will have a total capacity of bio-products of approximately 70,000 metric tons per year.

Matrìca is a 50:50 joint venture between Versalis, an Italian manufacturer of petrochemical products, and Novamont, a global bioplastics company.

“The first Matrìca plant that we are inaugurating today, brought about by the strategic partnership between Novamont and Versalis, uses a proprietary technology radically different from all other existing technologies: it does not use ozone in the vegetable oil oxidative scission reaction and allows us to produce intermediates known as azelaic acid and pelargonic acid, as well as new proprietary products, through a safe process with low environmental impact," said Catia Bastioli, managing director of Novamont and Matrìca.