Partnership produces new source of 100% renewable PET

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

January 30, 2014

2 Min Read
Partnership produces new source of 100% renewable PET

Gevo Inc., a leading renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, says it has successfully produced fully renewable and recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with its potential customer, Toray Industries Inc. (Toray) one of the world's leading producers of fibers, plastics and chemicals. Around 50 million tons of PET are produced annually for conversion into films and bottles for packaging; fibers for non-wovens and textiles; and, resins for automotive applications.


In April 2010, the two companies signed a non-binding letter of interest for the future supply of renewable paraxylene derived from Gevo's isobutanol sometime in 2012 or thereafter. 

Working directly with this important potential customer, Gevo employed prototypes of commercial operations from the petrochemical and refining industries to make paraxylene from isobutanol. This renewable paraxylene was sent to Toray for conversion into biobased PET articles. Toray used its existing technology and new technology jointly developed with Gevo and used Gevo's paraxylene and commercially available renewable mono ethylene glycol (MEG) to produce fully renewable PET (all of the carbon in this PET is renewable). 

"We believe there is strong customer demand for fully renewable, non-petroleum derived PET and we are working to fill that demand as soon as possible. Last month, we disclosed that we had provided renewable paraxylene to international brand owners for evaluation and the production of a fully renewable bottle from PET," says Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., president/COO of Gevo. "We are pleased to have validated this technology with Toray and look forward to building a market for fully renewable PET as soon as possible." 

"Companies today are looking for ways to introduce new products and packaging that helps meet the growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products while at the same time, contributing to the sustainability goals of their companies," says Chiaki Tanaka, evp and CTO of Toray. "Our partnership with Gevo and our internal progress to date suggest we are on track to help our customers fulfill these needs." 

The next step in this collaboration between Gevo and Toray is to move from lab-scale "proof of concept" to establishing commercial-scale operations. Gevo is currently working with partners to optimize the process technology needed to produce para-xylene from isobutanol at commercial-scale and competitive economics.

Source: Gevo Inc. 



About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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