EU PROBES SUPPORTFATTY ALCOHOL HIKES
Impending antidumping investi-gations by the EuropeanCommission against atty alco-hol producers in India, Indonesiaand Malaysia have resulted inhigher European spot prices,reported several Asian produc-ers. Following complaints o dumping fled in June 2010 by Cognis and Sasol Olefns &Suractants, Asian producershave taken a cautious approachwhen marketing material in theEU. One buyer said there werealso other actors supportingcurrent higher atty alcohol pricelevels such as higher eedstockcosts and tight supply.
US FATTY ALCOHOL PRICEUP ON TIGHT SUPPLY
Tight supplies were pushing upUS atty alcohol prices as frst-quarter (Q1) contract negotia-tions began. Tight supply wasunderpinned by an ongoing plantoutage in Malaysia, where anOctober explosion was expectedto keep production shut down orup to six months. Buyers saidtwo major importers verifed they would not bring material into theUS in Q1. Several US buyerswere already negotiating pricesor Q1 2011 contracts with oersrom suppliers at double-digitincreases rom Q4 2010 levels.
US METALLIC STEARATESPRICE HIKES ON TAP
Rising ats and oils prices aredriving price hikes on US metallicstearates. All eective December15, Ferro’s metallic stearates willincrease by 10 cents/lb,Baerlocher USA will hike itstallow-derived metallic stearatesby 10 cents/lb ($220/tonne,€168/tonne) and zinc stearateprices by 13 cents/lb. NoracAdditives will increase its
zinc stearate prod-ucts by 10 cents/lb and all other
metallic stear-ate products by 8 cents/lb. PMCBiogenix will increase its metallicstearates by 10 cents/lb, eec-tive January 1.
Malaysia ﬁnds glycerin use
GlycosBio and METabolic EXplorer to build bio-based chemical acilities using glycerin
DORIS DE GUZMAN
GlycosBio’s Cilento closes deal with Bio-Xcell CEO Raja Ridzwa Aziz
Malaysian state agency MalaysiaBiotechnology Corp. (Biotech-Corp.) attracted two foreign in-vestors last month – US-basedGlycos Biotechnologies (Glycos-Bio) and France-based METabol-ic EXplorer (METEX) – to devel-op and commercialize new usesfor glycerin as part of the govern-ment’s goal to increase its global biotechnology presence, as wellas create more opportunities forits palm industry.METEX plans to build its
rstcrude-glycerin-based 1,3 propan-ediol (PDO) production facilityin Southeast Asia with a step-by-step 50,000 tonne/year plant lo-cated in Bio-Xcell, a developing biotechnology park andecosystem established early thisyear by BiotechCorp. in theIskandar region.METEX will receive
nancial backing from the Malaysian gov-ernment of up to €30m ($39m) to build a plant. Once the plantgoes into service, the companywill take over the remainder of the investment under a 10-yearleasing arrangement.METEX will contribute €6m inthe real-estate purchase and will be tax-exempt for 10 years. Asidefrom the
ts, Ma-laysia also offers a strategic geo-graphical position for METEX toserve the growing demand forPDO in Asia, according to CEOBenjamin Gonzalez.
“METEX’s strategy is to becomethe
rst PDO manufacturer in theAsian region to serve the localhigh demand: Malaysia is close toIndia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japanand China,” said Gonzalez.“In Malaysia, the world’s sec-ond-largest producer of palm oil,METEX will have secure, com-petitive upstream access to crudeglycerin, a by-product of the bi-odiesel industry.”Gonzalez estimates the globalPDO market’s growth at 20%/year, and production is projectedto reach 700,000 tonnes in 2020with a market value of €1.3bn.“The PDO market is very dy-namic, especially in Asia wherethere is a strong and growing de-mand for the chief application of PDO – the production of PTT[polytrimethylene terephthalate]driven by the textile industry,”he said.METEX plans to initially pro-duce 8,000 tonnes of glycerin- based PDO, which the companyexpects to have on stream within18–24 months.The company did not disclosehow much crude glycerin will beused for feedstock.METEX is currently producingmore than 1 tonne of PDO samplesvia fermentation processing at itspilot plant in Clermont-Ferrand,France, which the company start-ed in January.“The samples are used fortests on the principal PDO appli-cations in order to meet strongand growing demand from man-ufacturers interested in the tech-nology,” said Gonzalez.Bio-Xcell will also house a glyc-erin-based isoprene manufactur-ing facility, as well as a researchcenter to be built by GlycosBio.
PLANS TAKE SHAPE
The company con
rmed in earlyNovember that it was pushingforward with its plans to build a20,000–40,000 tonne/year fer-mentation-derived bio-isopreneplant in the Iskandar region,which is expected to be opera-tional in 2012. Investment ispegged at around $15m–20m.GlycosBio CEO Richard Cilen-to noted the company’s plans tofocus much of its initial researchand development (R&D) effortson creating isoprene to supportMalaysia’s rubber industry.Isoprene is a key feedstock insynthetic rubber manufacturing.GlycosBio’s technology can alsoproduce ethanol, lactic acid, ace-tone, 1,2-propanediol (PDO),1,4-butanediol (BDO) and suc-cinic acid from crude glycerin,said Cilento.“For Malaysia, isoprene is astrategic product because of thelarge domestic latex industry andwhere we plan to focus much of our R&D efforts,” he said. “Ourlong-term strategy includes fur-ther expansion in Malaysia andacross Southeast Asia, formingjoint venture partnerships withpetrochemical, oleochemical and biofuel producers.”The company also intends topartner with end-market players
“METEX’s strategy isto become the ﬁrst…to serve the localhigh demand”