DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Solvay Acetow, a subsidiary of Solvay, is entering the plastics market for the very first time with a new biomaterial based on cellulose.
The company has worked with cellulose acetate for 85 years but mainly provided the material for cigarette filter production.
It made sense to launch a plastic because “cellulose is our core material and we could see the growing trend for bioplastic materials,” company spokesman Marc Michels told European Plastics News.
The plastic — named Ocalio — is an amorphous engineering bio-plastic. When used with a bioplasticizer the bio-based content is 50 percent, but the company hopes to increase this percentage to 70 percent.
“The material has several technical advantages and is a mid-range plastic so similar to amorphous plastics such as ABS and SAN,” said business development manager Louis Cozzari.
The material has similar mechanical resistance, as well as scratch resistance and good thermal properties, and is free from phthalates.
Solvay Acetow sources the bio content of the material from wood pulp certified by the Sustainable Forest Initiative, which was important, said Cozzari, because Solvay did not want to compete with food supply.
In addition, Ocalio creation produces less CO2 during production than fossil-based materials.
Solvay Acetow will produce the material at its manufacturing facility in France and in the long term is aiming to produce 20,000 tonnes per year. It is initially targeting Ocalio at packaging for food and cosmetics but will also look at electronic applications in the longer term.
Based in Freiburg, Germany, Solvay Acetow has annual sales of $700 million and production facilities in Germany, Brazil, France and Russia.