June 27, 2011
Toray Industries, Inc.
Toray Succeeds in Production of Fully Renewable, Biobased
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Polymer
-A significant step towards achieving a sustainable society in collaboration with Gevo-
Toray Industries, Inc. (Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan; President: Akihiro Nikkaku, hereafter referred to as "Toray") in partnership with Gevo, Inc. (Head Office: Englewood, Colorado, U.S.A, CEO: Patrick R. Gruber, hereafter referred to as "Gevo"), a leading company of renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels, has succeeded in producing laboratory-scale samples of fully renewable biobased PET and its films.
Gevo succeeded in converting isobutanol, produced from biomass by employing its own highly effective production method that uses genetically modified microorganisms, to para-xylene using conventional chemical process for commercial operations.
Toray used terephthalic acid synthesized from Gevo’s biobased para-xylene and commercially available renewable mono ethylene glycol (MEG) as raw materials, and successfully produced the PET samples by applying a new technology and PET polymerization, and film production technology. This biobased PET has exhibited properties almost equivalent to petro-based PET in laboratory conditions.
Commercially available PET is currently produced from terephthalic acid and mono ethylene glycol (MEG), both of which are derived from petroleum. Around 50 million tons of PET is produced worldwide annually for producing fibers, films and bottles. And PET, which has outstripped other polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene in global demand, has become an essential polymer in our daily life.
The success of this trial, albeit under laboratory conditions, is proof that PET can be industrially produced from fully renewable biomass feedstock alone. This is a significant step that would contribute to the realization of a sustainable, low-carbon society.
Gevo is planning to exhibit these laboratory-scale biobased PET samples at "BioPlastek 2011 Forum", which will be held at The Waldorf-Astoria, New York from June 27th to June 29th.
Under its management policy that all business strategies must place priority on the global environment in an effort to help realize a sustainable low-carbon society, Toray has been promoting the development of biobased polymers while expanding the businesses related to biobased materials such as poly lactic acid (PLA). The expansion of biobased polymers is an important initiative central to the Group’s Green Innovation projects under its new medium-term management program "Project AP-G 2013", launched in April this year.
Under the corporate slogan "Innovation by Chemistry", Toray will enhance its efforts to develop advanced materials to contribute to the progress of a sustainable, recycling society.
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