Husky, Origin Materials partner on recyclable PET polymer for packaging
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The novel hybrid polymer “PET/F” expected to deliver enhanced performance compared with traditional PET plastic and have up to 100 per cent bio content.
Husky Technologies has partnered with material supplier Origin Materials Inc. to commercialize PET (polyethylene terephthalate) incorporating the sustainable chemical FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) for advanced packaging and other applications.
West Sacramento, Calif.-based Origin successfully polymerized the bio-based sustainable chemical FDCA into the common recyclable plastic, PET, and Husky molded the resulting “PET/F” hybrid polymer into preforms that were then blown into bottles. The companies used Husky’s injection molding technologies and manufacturing equipment, a commercial manufacturing-scale level of processing demonstrating the ability of PET/F, a polymer made with FDCA, to be integrated into existing PET production systems.
FDCA is a chemical building block with diverse applications including polyesters, polyamides, polyurethanes, coating resins, and plasticizers. FDCA is also the precursor for the next-generation sustainable polymer PEF (polyethylene furanoate). By combining FDCA with PET, Origin says it has produced PET/F, a “tunable” hybrid polymer offering performance enhancements and full recyclability.
In a news release, officials with Origin said they expect to develop and sell a family of 100 per cent bio-based, low-carbon PET/F polymers offering full recyclability and superior performance compared with traditional 100 per cent petroleum-derived PET. “[We] anticipate that PET/F will offer ‘tunable’ performance, with properties like enhanced mechanical performance and superior barrier properties enabling longer shelf life controlled by adjusting manufacturing conditions and the quantity of FDCA copolymer,” they said.
Origin also expects to enable the production of FDCA, PEF (polyethylene furanoate), and PET/F at commercial scale using its patented technology platform, which turns the carbon found in sustainable wood residues into useful materials, while capturing carbon in the process. Origin officials said its PEF is expected to be 100 per cent bio-based, fully recyclable, have attractive unit economics, and offer a significantly reduced carbon footprint, “with superior strength, thermal properties, and barrier properties compared to today’s widely used petroleum-based materials.”
“This is a key moment in the commercialization of cost-effective, low-carbon FDCA and PEF and the development of next-generation sustainable polymers generally,” Origin co-founder and co-CEO John Bissell said. “We believe these materials have the power to transform plastics and the material economy.”
“Driving sustainability through innovation is at the core of how Husky has been leading the way in enabling the circular economy of plastics,” said John Galt, CEO of Husky Technologies. “Preserving and protecting what matters, in even more sustainable ways is foundational to everything we do at Husky. Our collaboration with Origin Materials is an exciting example of combining material innovation with state-of-the-art polymer processing technologies.”