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Specialty chemicals company Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc. recently announced that its second biorefinery will begin operation by 2016 in Natchez, Miss., expanding production of its Inherent renewable building blocks. Earlier this year, Elevance announced commercial shipments from its first biorefinery located in Gresik, Indonesia.
Using a proprietary technology called olefin metathesis, the biorefineries produce Inherent renewable building blocks, which are designed to enhance the stability and fuel economy of lubricant base oils, enable detergents to be more concentrated and clean better in cold water, improve solvency for better hard surface cleaners, and create unique monomers for bio-based polymers and engineered plastics, including long-chain polyamides, polyurethanes and polyesters.
"Our current customer forecasts for Inherent renewable building blocks call for demand to exceed Gresik's capacity," said Elevance CEO K'Lynne Johnson. "With commercial production underway at Gresik, customer activity continues to increase in each of our market platforms. By building biorefineries in multiple geographies, we are able to meet customer demand for better-performing, cost-competitive renewable alternatives to petrochemicals across multiple industries. We will also be providing our customers the added security of two world-scale commercial plants with diversified feedstock supply chains."
Elevance has invested approximately $30 million in the Natchez site, which will have a capacity of 280,000 metric tons (approximately 617 million pounds). The Natchez biorefinery initially will operate using canola or soybean oil; the Gresik biorefinery is now operating on palm oil. Both plants are capable of running on multiple renewable oil feedstocks, including jatropha or algal oils when they become commercially available.
"We have been very pleased with the operation of the Gresik facility," said John Harvey, Elevance's vice president of manufacturing. "Production at Gresik has hit all targets, including the ability to operate at design rates and demonstrating the ability to shut down and restart without issues while delivering excellent product quality. Our operations in Natchez will complement our joint venture with Wilmar International in Asia and expand our global capabilities."
The specialty chemicals, olefins and oleochemicals produced at the biorefineries will be used in lubricants and additives, engineered polymers, personal-care products, detergents and cleaners, as well as other specialty chemicals markets.
For more information, visit www.elevance.com.