Midland, Michigan-Dow Chemical Co. has announced that it is introducing monopropylene glycol derived from renewable resources. The US-headquartered group's new Propylene Glycol Renewable (PGR) is made from glycerin generated during the manufacture of biodiesel, a diesel-fuel alternative made from vegetable oil.
If such a route to making PG takes off, it may have implications the supply chain for polyols, in which propylene oxide is used to make a variety of materials, including polyols for polyurethane as well as PG.
Dow is at present carrying out PGR trials with customers and said it expects to have limited commercial quantities available in mid-2007.
According to Dow, PGR will be used in standard PG uses such as unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) for boat hulls and bathroom fixtures as well as aircraft deicers, antifreeze for automobiles, recreational vehicles and marine and heavy-duty laundry detergents.
"PGR provides environmental benefits and is cost competitive. It also offers the same outstanding characteristics in terms of quality and performance as our existing PG products," said Mady Bricco, global product director, Propylene Oxide / Propylene Glycol, in Dow's announcement. "This breakthrough technology underscores Dow's commitment to deliver products and process technologies that bolster the company's sustainable chemistry aspirations.
According to Bricco, the PGR process will consume much less fresh water than conventional PG.
"Manufacturers in several downstream industries are demanding the ability to provide more sustainable products to their customers," that use less fossil fuel and other non-renewable resources, Bricco added.
"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," Bricco continued. "PGR pricing is independent of the volatility associated with hydrocarbon and energy costs." (epw)"