By Liz White, UT contributing editorHong Kong-Chinese firm Global Bio-chem Technology Group Co. Ltd has joined the list of companies producing polyols from natural resources rather than from petrochemicals, in an environmentally benign fashion. The Hong-Kong-based group explained at a seminar in that it is introducing technology, using corn, a low-cost, renewable resource, to substitute petroleum in making polyol products. And the group has been reported as planning to invest over $120 million in a 200-kilotonnes-a-year capacity Chinese production facility for the polyols, used in making polyurethanes and other materials. Global Bio-chem has set up a joint venture with US firm International Polyol Chemicals, Inc. to carry out a feasibility study and pilot operation of the technology. The pilot plant in Changchun, with annual capacity of 10 000 tonnes, started up in July 2004 and can make about 2200 tonnes of ethylene glycol and 5200 tonnes of propylene glycol from 10 000 tonnes of sorbitol. "