By Cameron Chai
Nexant has added a new report titled “Plants to Plastics—Can Nature Compete in Commodity Polymers” to its series of ChemSystems Special Reports. In view of the growing problems related to sustainability, carbon footprints and rising oil prices, some of the major companies in the chemical industry are looking for alternative feedstocks and intermediates from renewable sources.
The report examines the existing technologies for manufacturing commodity polymers through renewable resources. It analyzes other feedstock sources and feedstock routes and compares alternative and traditional routes to commodity polymers. Chemical intermediates generated in this method may enhance petroleum feedstocks in the future. It offers an independent analysis of such technologies. Such analysis is important to investors and polymer manufacturers who are looking to improve their business by adopting technologies based on feedstocks and renewable resources.
The report covers a number of topics like the latest technological developments; commercial status of green polymers; bio-based technologies for producing feedstocks and intermediates, resulting in commodity polymers such as PP, PE, PET and PVC; economic comparison of traditional routes with bio-based routes; and market outlook for the commodity polymers.
The report evaluates feedstocks, intermediates and technologies as well as renewable feedstocks like sugarcane, corn and other kinds of biomass that may offer a substitute to the conventional petrochemical feedstocks that are presently controlling the polymer industry. It also includes information on how different costs for natural gas, crude oil and propylene can impact certain processes.
The report also underlines some substitute routes to intermediates such as a bio-based route to para-xylene using biomass like wood chips, a tentative route to polypropylene using a fermentation-to-propanol route, and a tentative route to polyethylene using a methanol-to-olefins bio-based route.