Approximately 50 million metric tons of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are produced annually for conversion into films and bottles for packaging, fibers for non-wovens and textiles, and resins for automotive applications. Gevo, Inc. and Toray Industries, Inc., one of the world’s leading producers of fibers, plastics, and chemicals, have successfully produced fully renewable and recyclable PET from isobutanol.
Gevo and Toray have developed renewable paraxylene from isobutanol which has been converted into biobased PET. Toray used Gevo’s paraxylene and commercially available renewable mono ethylene glycol (MEG) to produce fully renewable PET – i.e., all of the carbon in this PET is from renewable feedstocks.
“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, Executive Vice President and former 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 a pilot plant and then establish commercial-scale operations. Gevo is currently working with partners to optimize the process technology needed to produce paraxylene from isobutanol at commercial-scale and competitive economics.
“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,” says Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., President, COO, and CTO of Gevo. “We are pleased to have validated this technology with Toray and look forward to building a market for fully renewable PET.”