Two Companies Eye Renewable Polymers | December 21, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 51 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 51 | p. 22 | Concentrates
Issue Date: December 21, 2009

Two Companies Eye Renewable Polymers

Department: Business
Keywords: Novomer, Eastman Kodak, Novozymes, Braskem, polypropylene

Two firms are taking steps to add new materials to the renewable polymers lexicon. Boston-based Novomer is working with Eastman Kodak to develop the carbon dioxide-based polymer polypropylene carbonate (PPC) for packaging applications. Novomer was founded on the research of Cornell University chemistry professor Geoffrey W. Coates to make polymers out of carbon dioxide. The company is launching an $800,000 project, funded in part by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, to manufacture pilot-scale quantities of PPC at a Kodak specialty chemical facility in Rochester, N.Y. Novomer plans on making enough PPC resins and films to allow potential customers to test them in packaging applications. PPC is made by polymerizing propylene oxide with carbon dioxide using a proprietary catalyst. Separately, Braskem has initiated a five-year project with Danish enzymes manufacturer Novozymes to work on a new sugarcane-based route to polypropylene. Braskem has already synthesized polypropylene from sugar-based ethanol; it is constructing a 200,000-metric-ton-per-year plant, scheduled for completion next year, to make polyethylene from ethanol.

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