Braskem, Haldor Topsoe commission biobased MEG demonstration unit

By Braskem | February 08, 2019

Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in the Americas and a world leader in the production of biopolymers, and Haldor Topsoe, the world leader in catalysts and technology for the chemical and refining industries, announce the commissioning of the pioneer demonstration unit in the development of monoethyleneglycol (MEG) to from sugar. Located in Lyngby, Denmark, the operation of the pilot plant is the decisive step to confirm the technical and economic viability of this process of production of renewable MEG on an industrial scale. 

The cooperation agreement between companies was announced in 2017 and focuses on the development of technology capable of converting sugar into MEG within a single industrial unit, reducing the initial investment in production and thus boosting the competitiveness of the process. MEG is a raw material for PET, a resin widely used in the textile and packaging sectors, especially for the manufacture of bottles. Today, the global MEG market moves around $ 25 billion. 

 "Haldor Topsoe is a world leader in catalytic solutions and we are determined to maintain this position in the field of renewable energy as well. We are therefore pleased to be able to start the next phase of validation of the MOSAIK solution for the production of renewable MEG…Our goal is to show that innovative catalytic technologies can make chemicals from biomass a commercially attractive option," said Kim Knudsen, executive vice president of Haldor Topsoe.

From 2020, customers will receive samples to test on their products. The unit built in Denmark has an annual production capacity of hundreds of tons of glycolaldehyde, a substance that is converted into MEG. The goal is for the plant to be able to convert different raw materials such as sucrose, dextrose and second generation sugars into MEG. Currently the compost is made from fossil sources, such as naphtha, gas or charcoal.

"The process for the development of renewable MEG in partnership with Haldor Topsoe is a major advance in terms of competitiveness for PET Verde. This partnership strengthens our role and adds value to our I'm green portfolio , which already has Polyethylene Green and EVA Verde, both produced from sugarcane. It also reinforces our vision of using biopolymers as a carbon capture tool, contributing to a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, "explains Gustavo Sergi, director of renewable chemicals of Braskem.