May 13, 2022

SK Chemicals ready for mass production of PO3G polymer derived from bio-based raw materials

[Courtesy of SK chemiclas]

SEOUL — SK Chemicals, a unit of South Korea’s SK Group, is poised for mass production of PO3G (Polyoxytrimethylene Glycol), a polymer derived from organic raw materials, using fermented corn. The new “Ecotrion” brand material reduces greenhouse gas emissions and provides long durability.

SK Chemicals has completed setting up a PO3G production line in the southeastern industrial port city of Ulsan. PO3G products would be mainly used for materials requiring elasticity, such as polyurethane and spandex. This family of high performance polyols is an ideal replacement for petroleum-derived ingredients as it offers many advantages in various fields of application.

SK Chemicals would gradually increase the production of PO3G based on market demand and accelerate its efforts to tap into markets such as artificial leather, sneakers, fashion and furniture with the excellent physical properties and environmental friendliness of ‘Ecotrion. Sneakers and fashion products using PO3G have the advantage of smoother and elastic resilience and wear resistance compared to existing products, which makes them easier to wear.

“The white bio-industry is growing rapidly with domestic and foreign policies to reduce carbon emissions,” Chung Jae-joon, new head of SK Chemicals’ business development division, said in a May 2 statement. “We will further strengthen the green business system based on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) management as the biomaterials project we are preparing.”

Plastic products are broken down into microscopic sizes but they still remain in the environment. The accumulation of plastic waste has become a serious global problem. White biotechnology is a field of science devoted to the use of living cells collected from yeasts, molds, microorganisms and plants, and enzymes to create products that can be easily degraded.

White biotech production processes also use less energy and create less waste. It has been studied around the world to reduce plastic pollution. South Korea nurtures the white biotech industry which focuses on the creation and distribution of biodegradable bioplastics. Industry experts suggest that market demand and distribution networks for biodegradable bioplastics need to be established before commercialization kicks into full gear to popularize biodegradable plastics.

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