Technology Profile: Polyethylene Furanoate Production
By Intratec Solutions |
This column is based on “Polyethylene Furanoate Production — Cost Analysis,” a report published by Intratec. It can be found at: www.intratec.us/analysis/polyethylene-furanoate-production-cost.
Polyethylene furanoate (PEF) is a polymer synthesized from the copolymerization of 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) with monoethylene glycol (MEG). Since both monomers can be obtained from biomass starting material, and the resulting PEF is 100% recyclable, PEF is considered a bio-based analogue to polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Also, PEF production is thought to have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to the production of PET.
FIGURE 1. The diagram shows a polyethylene furanoateproduction process[/caption]
Strong parallels are reported in the literature between the production of PET and PEF, to the point that existing PET assets may be used for PEF production. FDCA and MEG are polymerized in two steps (Figure 1) yielding bottle-grade PEF.
Melt-phase polymerization. MEG and FDCA are initially fed to the paste system, which prepares a uniform feed slurry batch-wise for melt-polymerization downstream. The mixture then passes through two agitated and jacketed reactors, in which esterification…