Engineering News

Huntsman Scales Up Process to Convert a Biodiesel By-product to Propylene Glycol
Monday April 30, 8:30 am ET

Company Continues Sustainable Chemistry Initiative

THE WOODLANDS, Texas, April 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Huntsman Corporation today announced a further step in its plan to commercialize a process for manufacturing propylene glycol from a renewable raw material, and will make it available for customer trials as early as next month.

"We expect the rapid growth in biodiesel production worldwide to create a surplus of glycerin and, with it, an opportunity," said Dave Parkin, Vice President of Huntsman Performance Intermediates. "We established our business development unit dedicated to sustainable chemistry to take advantage of just such an opportunity -- to find profitable ways to meet market demand for our products, yet using renewable resources as feedstocks."

The production of biodiesel from vegetable and seed oils creates the by-product glycerin, which then can be used to manufacture propylene glycol for the global market's four-and-a-half billion pound annual demand for the material. Propylene glycol is used to de-ice commercial aircraft prior to take-off, and in the manufacture of construction materials, among other end uses.

Using proprietary technology developed at the Huntsman Advanced Technology Center, the company initially will manufacture the bio-based propylene glycol at its Process Development Facility in Conroe, Texas. This state-of-the-art facility can turn out products in intermediate scale quantities, pending further scale up and transfer of the process to Huntsman's larger scale plants. Huntsman expects its bio-based propylene glycol to be commercially available by 2008.

"At Huntsman, we think sustainable chemistry makes good sense, both for our environment and for our business, and we have the experience and the expertise to take it from development to commercial reality," said Parkin. "Bio-based propylene glycol is just one example of our commitment to sustainable chemistry. We look forward to future announcements of other developments from our sustainable chemistry initiative."

Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals. Its operating companies manufacture products for a variety of global industries, including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging and, later, for rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has 14,000 employees and over 75 operations in 24 countries. The Company had 2006 revenues from all operations of over $13 billion.

Source: Huntsman Corporation

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