Braskem and Haldor Topsoe startup demo unit for developing renewable MEG

Located in Denmark, the space is a result of a technological cooperation agreement between the companies for researching a pioneering route for the production of monoethylene glycol (MEG) from sugar

Braskem, the America's largest petrochemical producer and the world's leading biopolymer producer, and  Haldor Topsoe, the world leader in catalysts and technology for the chemical and refining industries , announce the commissioning of a pioneering demonstration unit for the development of monoethylene glycol (MEG) from sugar. Located in Lyngby, Denmark, the pilot plant's operation marks a decisive step in confirming the technical and economic feasibility of producing renewable MEG on an industrial scale. 

Announced in 2017, the cooperation agreement focuses on developing a new technology for converting sugar into MEG at a single industrial unit , which reduces the initial investment in production and consequently makes the process more competitive. MEG is used to make PET, a resin that is widely used in the textile and packaging industries, especially for making bottles. The global market for MEG currently is at around US$25 billion. 

 "Haldor Topsoe is a global leader in catalytic solutions and is driven to maintain its leadership in the renewable energy industry. We are pleased to embark, together with Braskem, on the next phase of the validation of the MOSAIKTM solution for producing biobased MEG. Our goal is to show that innovative catalytic technologies can make chemical products from biomass a commercially attractive option," says Kim Knudsen, executive officer at Haldor Topsoe.

Starting in 2020, clients will receive samples to test in their products. The unit built in Denmark has annual production capacity of hundreds of tons of glycolaldehyde, a substance that is converted into MEG. The goal is for the plant to convert various raw materials, such as sucrose, dextrose and second-generation sugars, into MEG. Currently, the compound is made from fossil-based feedstocks, such as naphtha, gas or coal.

"The process for developing renewable MEG in partnership with Haldor Topsoe represents a major advance in competitiveness for Green PET. The partnership strengthens the leading role we play and adds value to our I'm greenTM portfolio , which already features Green Polyethylene and Green EVA, both made from sugarcane. It also will further corroborate our vision of using biopolymers as a way to capture carbon, which helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," explained Gustavo Sergi, director of Renewable Chemicals at Braskem.

More about MOSAIKTM for production of MEG
MOnoSAccharide IndustrIal Cracker - or MOSAIKTM - is a solution for cracking of sugars to an intermediary product which can be further converted to monoethylene glycol (MEG) or other biochemicals, such as methyl vinyl glycolate or glycolic acid, using Haldor Topsoe's patented processes and catalysts. Innovation Fund Denmark has co-financed the development and upscaling of MOSAIKTM.

Current processes to produce MEG from biomass involve several steps. This can be reduced to two simple steps with MOSAIKTM and Topsoe's unique catalyst and technology for the production of MEG. The new solution brings down investment costs and boosts productivity to a level, where it can compete on commercial terms with traditional production from fossil feedstock (naphtha).

MEG is predominantly used in the manufacture of polyester (PET) resins, films and fibers. The global MEG market represents a value of approximately 25 billion dollars. 

About Haldor Topsoe 
Haldor Topsoe is the world leader in high-performance catalysts and proprietary technologies for the chemical and refining industries. Based on cutting-edge research and development, we help our customers achieve optimal performance in all phases from design to daily operations - in the most responsible way. Topsoe is headquartered in Denmark and serves customers across the globe. In 2017, our revenue was approximately 760 million US dollars, and we employ some 2,200 employees.

About Braskem
With a human-oriented global vision of the future, the 8,000 Team Members of Braskem strive every day to improve people's lives by creating sustainable solutions in chemistry and plastics. Braskem is the largest resin producer in the Americas, with annual production of 20 million tons, including chemical products and basic petrochemicals, and sales of R$50 billion in 2017. Braskem exports to clients in approximately 100 countries and operates 41 industrial units, which are located in Brazil, United States, Germany and Mexico, the latter in partnership with the Mexican company Idesa.

For media information on Haldor Topsoe, please contact:
Svend Ravn - +45 22 75 43 58 - svra@topsoe.com  

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