On November 4, South Korean chemical giant LG Chem and GS Caltex signed a joint development agreement (JDA) for 3HP mass production technology development and trial production at Magok LG Science Park.
3HP (3-hydroxypropionic acid) is the raw material of biodegradable plastic PLH (polylactic acid 3-hydroxypropionate). It is a bio-based material produced by microbial fermentation. The source is glucose and unrefined glycerin (from vegetable oil). ) And other biomass resources.
As the next-generation platform chemicals, 3HP's applications include not only biodegradable plastics, but also diapers, coatings, adhesives and glues, coating materials, carbon fibers, etc. 3HP is an isomer of lactic acid (2-hydroxypropionic acid), and the biological route has not yet achieved large-scale industrial production.
LG Chem used its exclusive 3HP fermentation technology to successfully develop PLH (polylactic acid 3-hydroxypropionate), a new type of biodegradable material, for the first time last year. This material can exhibit the same mechanical properties and transparency as synthetic resins, and its flexibility is more than 20 times higher than that of existing biodegradable materials, and it can still maintain transparency after processing.
The German DIN CERTCO has confirmed that according to the European industrial biodegradability certification standard, the material can be biodegraded by more than 90% within 120 days.
The goal is to produce trial products by 2023, and plans to review the additional investment in mass production through the evaluation of the client company in the future.
LG Chem has the world’s leading 3HP fermentation technology, and GS Caltex has advanced processing equipment. Therefore, the two companies are leveraging the synergy of LG Chem’s fermentation production technology and GS Caltex’s process facility technology to achieve 3HP mass production and commercialization. There is a common interest in the goal of transformation.
The two companies plan to accelerate their entry into the biodegradable material and various bioplastic markets through mass production of 3HP from 2023. In addition, they will also actively discuss future cooperation plans in the field of white biotechnology and plans to realize a sustainable biological ecosystem.
In response, Xu Shihong, general manager of GS Caltex, said: “The two companies will cooperate to develop environmentally friendly raw materials to contribute to the net economy and carbon reduction, strengthen ESG capabilities, and create economic value through high value-added products.”
LG Chem President Shin Hak-cheol also said: "We will devote ourselves to the research and development of environmentally friendly materials and lead future technologies that protect the environment and society."
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