The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) recently announced a significant milestone in its pursuit of sustainable chemistries, with the introduction of monopropylene glycol derived from renewable resources.
Propylene Glycol Renewable (PGR) is made from glycerin generated during the manufacture of biodiesel, a diesel-fuel alternative produced from vegetable oil. Dow is currently conducting PGR trials with customers and anticipates having limited commercial quantities available in mid-2007. PGR will be used in such applications as unsaturated polyester resins (UPR).
According to Mady Bricco, global product director, Propylene Oxide/Propylene Glycol, in addition to being manufactured from what is essentially a by-product of the biodiesel process, the production of PGR can be expected to provide additional environmental benefits when compared to propylene-based PG. Laboratory tests indicate that manufacturing PGR will consume considerably less fresh water than conventional PG.
‘We are excited to be at the forefront in developing this innovative, sustainable product. Manufacturers in several downstream industries are demanding the ability to provide more sustainable products to their customers’ said Bricco. ’Using PGR will enable customers to exercise their commitment to technologies that consume less fossil fuel and other finite resources.’
According to Dow, demand for PG continues to rise, accompanied by a parallel interest in sustainable products, which indicates that the industry is ready for the introduction of PGR. Dow will offer two industrial-grade PG products from two different raw material systems.
‘Offering conventional industrial grade PG (PGI) and PGR at the same time will allow Dow to provide customers with greater PG cost stability and predictability’ said Bricco. ’PGR pricing is independent of the volatility associated with hydrocarbon and energy costs. Meanwhile, we will continue to grow our conventional PGI offering in tandem with the new PGR product, which will liberate Dow from potential, future variability in seed oil and glycerin costs.’
Dow has contracted with Dow Haltermann Custom Processing (DHCP), and Johann Haltermann to produce PGR from the crude glycerin generated from the production of biodiesel. DHCP will conduct pilot trials and eventually full-scale production of PGR at its