FORT LAUDERDALE FLA. - It has taken Amoco Chemical Co. al-most a year to start production at its Decatur, Ala., plant to produce 2,6, naphthalene dicarboxylate, but the company is planning another, larger, plant for 2000. Paul Schiller, manager of marketing and sales of fine acids for the Chicago company, told attendees at the Bev-Pak '96 conference held in Fort Lauderdale April 15-17 that the company sees the demand for NDC increasing greatly by the end of the millennium.
Demand will be stimulated by growth of interest in polyethylene naphthalate, of which NDC is the key ingredient. Amoco is the only company with commercial capacity for NDC production in the world, and is the sole supplier of the monomer to Eastman Chem-ical Co., Shell Chemical Co., and others developing commercial production of PEN.
``We will be able to produce about 15 million pounds of NDC this year,'' Schiller told the conference, ``and hope to have the plant up to its capacity of 60 million pounds annually next year.''
He added that the firm has already begun debottlenecking the Decatur plant to boost its capacity to about 90 million pounds by 1999. He said plans for a second plant will depend on demand and whether high-volume uses for the resin develop in coming years.
``We were happy that Eastman gained the first opening of the door with approval by the [Food and Drug Administration] of their homo-polymer,'' Schiller said. ``Later, we expect that other companies will be getting approval for use of copolymers and blends.''
He said the company has set the price of the NDC product at $1.50 per pound, and that it could be expected to stay there for some time.
While admitting that mon-omer cost will make PEN containers and other applications costly, he said Amoco is confident some significant uses will be found once building blocks are available.