PepsiCo PET annoucement analysis


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potential known pathways to terephthalic acid

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PepsiCo PET annoucement analysis

  1. 1. Jim Lunt –Summary around TPA announcement by PepsiCo <br />The route to ethylene glycol from ethanol is well known and was practiced into the 1960’s until oil based EG became a cheaper route. Ethanol in Brazil and India is now being produced from sugar cane and India Glycols does convert Sugar cane ethanol to Ethylene Glycol. Coke does say their ethylene glycol comes from sugar cane in Brazil, but I do not know a Brazilian company who is actually producing ethylene glycol. Of course sugar cane derived ethanol is plentiful and used by Braskem to produce high density polyethylene. <br />Regarding terephthalic acid (TPA), several companies have announced they are working on this. Gevo is commercializing biobutanol (iso butanol) and have announced their interest to work with companies to convert this to para xylene and then to TPA. Other companies are also working in this area to convert bio derived iso butanol, n butanol or isobutylene to TPA. <br /> Draths is working to convert glucose via trans, trans -muconate to TPA.<br /> Anellotech claims the technology to convert biomass (i.e. wood waste, corn stover, sugar cane bagasse, etc.) in a fluidized bed reactor in the presence of an inexpensive zeolite catalyst. Biomass is rapidly heated without oxygen and the resulting gases are immediately catalytically converted into aromatic hydrocarbons. The resulting BTX mixture can be sold to petrochemical companies for processing in existing separation units, or distilled by Anellotech and sold directly into the market.  According to Anellotech, other than the reactor, regenerator and the catalyst, the process equipment is standard items, simplifying and focusing development.<br />Avantium are developing a route to 2, 5 furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) as an alternative monomer to PTA, but of course this will not produce PET. <br />WO2010151346 (A1) describes the use of dimethyl furan to TPA. The dimethyl furan is claimed to be produced from carbohydrates such as glucose or fructose. Also US patent application, US2010/0168461A1, published July 1, 2010 Claims the use of terpenes such a limonene (found in citrus fruits) as a route to TPA. <br />However, in spite of all this activity, to my knowledge none of these technologies are close to being commercial. In addition the ability to utilize such different types of biomass claimed in the PepsiCo press release would seem to be speculative at this point.<br />If you have a waste stream such as orange peel, which” in principle” is of no value and if you are not concerned about yields then no doubt you can look into the limonene process as a potential route. If you have carbohydrate biomass you can look into the other routes. However, all these technologies are in early stage development.<br /> I believe this press release to be ahead of the technology but of course I could be wrong. Look forward to hearing more from PepsiCo to obtain more clarity around is this just a marketing play or a definite reality to be on the market from a pilot unit in 2012. <br />