Wilmar International Limited and Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc. have begun shipping commercial products, including novel specialty chemicals, to customers from their first joint venture biorefinery, located in Gresik, Indonesia. The biorefinery is the first based on Elevance’s proprietary metathesis technology.
“We are pleased to have successfully and safely completed construction, commissioning and startup, allowing us to commercially supply partners with better-performing, cost-competitive renewable alternatives to petrochemicals across multiple industries,” said Elevance CEO K’Lynne Johnson. “We have now turned our attention from construction and startup to working with our partners, such as Arkema and Stepan Company, to meet product demand and accelerate rapid deployment and commercialization of their high-performance chemicals in end user applications.”
The new plant is located within Wilmar’s integrated manufacturing complex in Gresik. The biorefinery will initially operate using palm oil, but it is capable of running on multiple renewable oil feedstocks, including mustard, soybean and, when they become commercially available, jatropha or algal oils.
“The technology, now proven on a global scale, is driving positive changes in the chemical industry at large by delivering novel products that improve performance and reduce environmental impact compared to alternates,” said Rahul Kale, head of biofuels and oleochemicals at Wilmar International Limited. ”We are pleased that startup is complete and shipments to customers from our joint venture are now underway.”
The commercial-scale manufacturing facility produces novel specialty chemicals, including multifunctional esters such as 9-decenoic methyl ester, a unique distribution of bio-based alpha and internal olefins including decene and a premium mixture of oleochemicals. It has a capacity of 180kMT (approximately 400 million pounds) with the ability to expand up to 360kMT (approximately 800 million pounds) of products.
The high-value performance specialty chemicals, olefins and oleochemicals will be used in personal care products, detergents and cleaners, lubricants and additives, engineered polymers, and other specialty chemicals markets. According to Elevanace, these specialty chemicals enable detergents to be more concentrated and clean better in cold water; improved solvency for better hard surface cleaners; lubricant base oils with improved stability and fuel economy; and unique monomers for bio-based polymers and engineered plastics, including long chain polyamides, polyurethanes and polyesters.
These molecules combine the functional attributes of an olefin, typical of petrochemicals, and a monofunctional ester or acid, typical of bio-based oleochemicals, into a single molecule, the company said.
The new plant is located within Wilmar’s integrated manufacturing complex in Gresik, Indonesia. The biorefinery will initially operate using palm oil, but it is capable of running on multiple renewable oil feedstocks, including mustard, soybean and, when they become commercially available, jatropha or algal oils.