Alternatives to petrochemistry

METEX is partnering with Finnish group UPM, a world leader in the paper industry, to develop a process for manufacturing MPG (1,2-Propanediol) from cellulosic sugars. This two-party agreement is part of a collaborative project of the ValChem consortium aimed at demonstrating the technical feasibility and competitiveness of a biorefinery producing wood-based chemical products.

Polymers are basic synthetic products used in the manufacture of such things as plastic materials, packaging, resins, and construction materials. Synthetic polymers have become the essential component of a very large number of everyday items. METEX processes offer alternatives that help produce polymers using less oil, thereby decreasing their environmental footprint.

By developing a process to manufacture MPG (1,2-Propanediol) using sugars from wood, METEX seeks to help increase the proportion of renewable carbon in polymers such as unsaturated polyester resins, polyurethanes, and thermoplastics.

The production capacity for bio-based polymers is projected to increase at a rate of around 10% a year, compared with 3-4% a year for petrochemical polymers.

(Source: Nova Institute, 2015)