Braskem and Haldor Topsoe launch demo unit for renewable MEG

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Photo by HaldorTopsoe, Braskem New MOSAIK demo unit

Having completed the construction and precommissioning of their MOSAIK process demonstration plant, the ‘first milestone’ has been successfully reached as planned and on schedule, announced project partner companies Braskem and Denmark-based Haldor Topsoe 6 February.

The demonstration plant, located in Lyngby, Denmark, is an important step towards upscaling the MOSAIK sugar-to biochemicals solution and production at an industrial scale and demonstrates all the key design features of the technology. Once taken into operation -  planned 1 March – it will produce more than 100 tons per year of glycolaldehyde, which will then be converted into MEG, a key ingredient in PET, in a following process step. 

In parallel with operating the first process step, the partners will complete the construction of the next process step, the downstream conversion to MEG. Mechanical completion is expected before the end of 2019.

Currently, MEG is made from fossil-based feedstocks, such as naphtha, gas or coal. The global MEG market represents a value of some USD 25 bn. Current processes to produce MEG from biomass involve several steps. MOnoSAccharide IndustrIal Cracker – or MOSAIK – is a simple, two-step solution for the cracking of sugars to an intermediary product which can be further converted to monoethylene glycol (MEG) or other biochemicals, such as methyl vinyl glycolate or glycolic acid, using Haldor Topsoe’s patented processes and catalysts. Next to lower investment costs, the MOSAIK process boosts productivity to a level where it can reportedly compete on commercial terms with traditional production from naphtha.

“Our goal is to show that innovative catalytic technologies can make chemicals from biomass a commercially attractive option,” said Kim Knudsen, Executive Vice President at Haldor Topsoe.

For Braskem, who is seeking to expand its portfolio of renewable products, the partnership serves to add value to its I’m green portfolio, said Gustavo Sergi, Director of Renewable Chemicals at Braskem. “It also will further corroborate our vision of using biopolymers as a way to capture carbon,” he added.

Ultimately, if all goes according to plan, production at industrial scale is expected to commence in 2023.

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