Issue Date: May 14, 2007
Ashland And Cargill Plan Biobased Chemical Partnership
Ashland and Cargill are forming a 50-50 joint venture to develop and produce bio-based chemicals. The companies will invest up to $100 million and initially focus on propylene glycol made from the glycerin coproduct of biodiesel production. Surging biodiesel output has resulted in a glut of glycerin and has enticed companies to use it to make products such as propylene glycol and epichlorohydrin that now come from petrochemicals. Ashland and Cargill plan a 65,000-metric-ton-per-year propylene glycol plant, the most ambitious of such plans to date. The companies will locate the plant, scheduled to open next year or in 2009, somewhere in Europe. "We believe the chemical market has reached a tipping point where biobased and petroleum-based options are both desired by the market and practical to produce," says Walter Solomon, Ashland's chief growth officer. The companies say they will ultimately move on to other glycerin derivatives. The joint venture will not include existing biobased chemicals such as Cargill's polylactic acid and an Ashland soy-based plastic.
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