Making a Greener PET an Economic Reality

  • Date: February 6, 2018
  • Time: 3:30 PM
  • Room: Ponce De Leon Ballroom

Petroleum is a finite, non-renewable resource that is growing in demand. At the same time, there is a growing understanding that greenhouse gas emissions and environmental output need to be limited. Because of this, brand owners are driving an increasing demand of renewable materials and a circular economy. The shift from fossil-based to renewable materials is especially relevant in the plastics industry, with PET being one of the most widely used plastics in the world. PET and PEF consist for a large part out of mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), a monomer that currently is primarily produced through a petrochemical process. 

Avantium has identified a process of making a drop-in MEG from glucose in a single-step, high atom efficiency process which is competitive with petroleum based MEG. The current commercial process of producing MEG from glucose (C6H12O6) takes four intermediate steps, resulting in a maximum theoretical yield of 67%. Therefore, these production processes for bio-based MEG are too expensive, hampering its widespread use when compared to petrochemical alternatives. Avantium identified a selective catalyst to split the C6 in glucose in three C2 fragments through a single-step process, in which a theoretical yield of 100% is possible, and >70% can practically be achieved.)

Taking into account the audience of The Packaging Conference, the presentation will be focused on a description of the Mekong program, including a view on MEG market dynamics, the need for sustainable and bio-based solutions in the packaging materials space, an overview of Avantium’s bio-based MEG process compared to incumbent processes, and the expected steps to commercialization.