DSM has tested and confirmed that bio-based BDO (1,4-butanediol) made with Genomatica’s process shows equivalent performance as fossil-based BDO.
DSM plans to use BDO made with Genomatica’s bio-based process technology in its Arnitel products.
Arnitel is a high-performance ThermoPlastic Copolyester (TPC) used in products from food packaging (pictured) to electronics, athletic apparel and shoes to auto parts. DSM says it’s a lighter, “greener” alternative to conventional plastics and rubbers and it reduces environmental impact as well as system costs.
DSM conducted in-depth tests with bio-based BDO, made with Genomatica’s process, to produce PBT (polybutylene terephthalate), one of the building blocks of Arnitel TPC.
DSM’s tests confirm that the bio-based BDO made with Genomatica’s process was of higher purity than typical fossil-based BDO. Additionally, when used to form polymers, this bio-based BDO delivers equivalent in-spec behavior and properties of the polymers compared to using petroleum-based BDO, and required no changes in DSM’s processes.
DSM says it considers BDO made with Genomatica’s process to be a suitable raw material for commercial production of Arnitel. The company plans to start transitioning its Arnitel portfolio to this new BDO as soon as supplies are readily available from one of the producers that Genomatica licenses to use its BDO process.
The first two products to use the new BDO are Arnitel Eco and Arnitel VT.
Arnitel Eco already has a bio-based content of 22 percent to 53 percent, depending on the hardness. The introduction of BDO made with Genomatica’s process will increase the bio-based content up to 73 percent. Arnitel Eco is being used for food packaging films and for a number of soft touch applications in consumer electronics.
Arnitel VT is a very flexible material that, when made into membranes just a few microns thick, is 100 percent waterproof but also highly breathable and comfortable, DSM says. The primary application is in outdoor apparel and shoes. Currently, Arnitel VT products are not bio-based. The planned use of BDO made with Genomatica’s process will result in an Arnitel VT that is up to 22 percent bio-based.
Earlier this year BASF and Genomatica inked a deal to build a production facility to make sugar-based BDO using Genomatica’s technology.
Other companies are cashing in on the growing demand for bioplastics, too. In August, Bio-Tec Environmental patented a method of creating a layered polymeric plastic or composite. The biodegradable-plastics company says products that combine the patented method with Bio-Tec’s patent-pending formulations are under development.