Dow teams up with Mitsui for large-scale biopolymers project
The Dow Chemical Co. has formed a 50-50 joint venture with Tokyo-based investment firm Mitsui & Co. Ltd. to produce sugarcane ethanol and renewable biopolymers at a facility in Santa Vitoria, Brazil.
When complete, the project will be the world’s largest integrated facility for the production of biopolymers from sugarcane ethanol, the companies said. Construction of the ethanol-chemical complex will begin in the third quarter 2011, with full production expected to commence in the second quarter of 2013. Engineering and design assessments for ethanol-to-ethylene and polyethylene production facilities will begin later this year and will undergo construction next year.
Financial details of the project have not been disclosed.
In a press release, Dow said that, despite the early focus on ethanol, the project’s ultimate goal is biopolymer production from sugarcane ethanol for use in Latin America’s packaging, hygiene and medical markets.
According to Dow chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris, the joint venture supports Dow’s 2015 sustainability goals, which call for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy intensity, increased products created through the use of sustainable chemistry, and at least three breakthroughs that will significantly help solve world challenges in energy and climate change, water, food, housing or health.