By Frank Esposito, Plastics News Staff
Midland, Michigan -- Dow Chemical Co. is partnering with Mitsui & Co. Ltd to create one of the world's largest biopolymers operations.
Midland-based Dow and Mitsui of Tokyo will become 50-50 partners in Dow's sugar cane operation in Santa Vitoria, Brazil. The JV will produce sugar cane-based ethanol, which will then be used to make biopolymers.
"This landmark move underscores Dow's commitment to invest for growth in high-value, innovation-rich sectors through strategic partnerships," said Andrew Liveris, Dow's chairman and CEO, in a July 19 news release. "It also combines the strengths of two global companies, creating the unique combination of world-leading technology and renewable feedstocks to meet needs in an important, rapidly growing region of the world."
Biopolymers produced at the facility will be a green alternative and drop-in replacement for the high-performance flexible packaging, hygiene and medical markets, offering customers the same performance attributes with a more sustainable environmental profile, officials added.
"This venture advances Mitsui's goal to contribute to industry and society by securing a stable supply of renewable resources and providing sustainable solutions from those resources," said Masami Iijima, Mitsui's president and ceo.
The first phase of the project includes the construction of a new sugarcane-to-ethanol production facility in Santa Vitória. Construction is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2011.