November 8, 2012

Mitsubishi expands PBS partnership

I apologize for the long hiatus as I just finished my mid-term exam last night and I made a promise to focus all my attention on school for the exam.

I have been wanting to post this news since it came out on November 5 about the collaboration between Mitsubishi Chemical and France-based automotive equipment supplier Faurecia on the use of polybutylene succinate (PBS) resins made from 100% biomass-based feedstock in automotive applications. I have mentioned the biodegradable polyester PBS before when I last posted about succinic acid.

It is commercially available in the market although not in big quantities. The last time I spoke with Mitsubishi Chemical, the company estimated the global PBS market were at 5,000-6,000 tonnes/year, and most of it is manufactured using petrochemical-based succinic acid and 1,4 butanediol (BDO). An industry source estimated the current PBS and derivatives market at 100,000–120,000 tonnes/year.

Faurecia said it has been conducting research into 100% renewable-based bioplastic since 2006 and will now partner with Mitsubishi Chemical to co-develop a full-range of bioplastics designed for use in automotive interiors. The collaboration will start with biomass-derived PBS, where Mitsubishi is already a producer via its partnership with US bio-succinic acid manufacturer BioAmber.

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