Thursday, 28 December 2017

Bio-based Purified Terephthalic Acid: The Key to Future of Plastics

Purified terephthalic acid (PTA) is an organic compound derived from the oxidation of paraxylene. It serves as the precursor for producing various plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polybutyl terephthalate (PBT), and polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT). Its properties such as glass transition temperature range, chemical resistance, and flexibility have led to its applications in polyester fibers, PET resins, and films. Major end users include bottling and packaging, home furnishing, textiles, and others.

Use of Bio-based Materials

Companies have resorted to using bio-based PTA to mitigate the environmental effects caused in the production cycle. Coca-Cola Company was one of the first proponents of bio-based polymers to create the first PET bottle from plant materials. It is expected to continue its production by relying on its proprietary PlantBottle technology. The company has created an alliance with Danone, Heinz, The Ford Motor Company, Nike, Inc., Unilever, and Procter & Gamble to promote the use of sustainable technologies in the future.

Food packaging industries are also complying with environmental policies by using bio-based purified terephthalic for its packages. Jordan’s, the U.K.’s organic cereal producer, recently was awarded for creating a sustainable package by using natural resources. The adoption of bio-based resources can reduce the dependence on crude oil.

Market Overview

The global purified terephthalic acid market is anticipated to reach a market valuation of nearly 111 billion by 2025, according to a report published by Grand View Research, Inc. It is driven by the demand for polyester films from various sectors such as food & beverages, packaging, and pharmaceutical sectors. Supportive initiatives by various governments such as Saudi Arabia, India, and Mexico to encourage the growth of textile and coating industries is expected to impact market growth.

Noteworthy market players include British Petroleum, Eastman Chemical Company, Reliance Industries Limited, and Formosa Plastics Group. Building additional plants is being seen as a strategy to increase their reach globally. For instance, Indorama Ventures is expanding its capacity by constructing a PTA center in Rotterdam.

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