PTT PolyCanada’s World Class Polytrimethylene Plant Construction Completed

PTT PolyCanada LP announced 21 June that the construction of the first world-scale polytrimethylene (PTT) polymer plant is completed and start-up is underway. Production is expected to begin at the plant in the fourth quarter of 2004. PTT PolyCanada is a 50/50 limited partnership of Shell Chemicals Canada Ltd. and Investissements Petrochimie (2080) Inc. (a subsidiary of SGF Chimie).

"There hasn't been a new polymer commercially available for fibre applications in 40 years. The PTT PolyCanada plant will be the first world-scale plant to produce an exciting new material called CORTERRA Polymer, "Stan Park, vice president of PDO/PTT for Shell Chemical LP said. CORTERRA Polymer is a thermoplastic polymer derived from 1,3-propanediol (PDO) and terephthalic acid and can be spun into both fibres and yarns by customers.

"CORTERRA Polymer combines some of the best qualities of nylon and polyester in one material. It really is a polymer of the future. Each day customers are finding new applications for it, like car seats, sportswear, toothbrushes and powder puffs."

"While this product is only in its infancy, CORTERRA Polymer sales are more than doubling each year," he added. "This plant is really a prototype. Not only does PTT PolyCanada plan to sell CORTERRA Polymer, an affiliate within Shell Chemicals also plans to license technology to other companies. At the same time, our marketing arrangements mean that customers can buy PTT polymer of various grades from PTT PolyCanada or they can buy PDO directly from Shell."

"Fibre made from CORTERRA Polymer is inherently stain resistant, antistatic, keeps its shape and has a luxurious feel: yet it is also durable and enhances natural fibres. Fabrics containing CORTERRA fibre are more wrinkle resistant, dry faster and offer softness and stretch compared to the same fabrics without CORTERRA. CORTERRA fibre is also resistant to chlorine deterioration," Park said.

The first products containing carpet fibre made from CORTERRA Polymer were sold by carpet manufacturers in May 2001 in Asia and the United States. "Since that time, millions of square metres of carpet have been sold by carpet manufacturers without any field complaints at all, which is remarkable for a new product."

Located in the industrial zone of Montreal, the new plant has a capacity of 95,000 metric tons a year of polymer which means it can produce enough polymer for customers to make fibre for 125 million square yards of 25-ounce carpet [equivalent to carpeting a quarter of a million basketball courts]. Its output is primarily targeted for the carpet and textile market in North America. The project value is estimated at over US$100 million. The plant will create about 100 direct and indirect jobs, and created 1,000 jobs during the construction phase. The primary feedstocks for PTT polymer are PDO and purified terephthalic acid (PTA). The PTA will come from an SGF/Interquisa plant nearby. An affiliate within Shell Chemicals will supply PDO from its Geismar, Louisiana plant.

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