The venture’s first product will be propylene glycol (PG). Using both licensed and proprietary technology, the joint venture will produce high-grade propylene glycol from glycerin, an abundant co-product of biodiesel production.
The joint venture expects to provide global manufacturing and marketing of biobased PG, starting with a 65,000 metric ton-per-year plant at a yet-to-be-finalised location in Europe.
According to Ashland market consultants, annual global production for propylene glycol totals more than 1.4 million metric tons, and research shows that global demand growing at a 3-percent to 7-percent rate.
Propylene glycol is a common ingredient in a variety of resins, lubricants, cosmetics, paints, detergents and antifreeze. Today, propylene glycol is produced from propylene oxide, a petroleum-based intermediate.
With a 50-50 ownership structure, the companies anticipate an initial capital investment in the range of $80 million to $100 million.
Details on the name, leadership and development plans are expected to be announced later in 2007.