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Croda International will spend $170 million at its New Castle, Del., site to build what will be the only commercial U.S. facility to dehydrate ethanol into ethylene and then oxidize it to ethylene oxide. After the plant opens in 2017, the company plans to use the ethylene oxide to make nonionic surfactants entirely from sustainable feedstocks. Today, Croda produces surfactants at the site by reacting tropical oil derivatives with synthetic ethylene oxide. The firm will use technology from Scientific Design. “This investment represents a tidal shift, especially for consumer goods manufacturers who are striving for sustainability and performance,” says Croda CEO Steve Foots.
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