LG Chem partners with domestic company to establish hydrotreated vegetable oil joint venture

By Lim Chang-won Posted : September 2, 2021, 13:18 Updated : September 2, 2021, 13:18

[Courtesy of LG Chem]

SEOUL -- In a deal aimed at securing the stable supply of bio-materials, LG Chem, the chemical unit of LG Group, partnered with Dansuk Industrial, a domestic biodiesel company, to establish a joint venture for South Korea's first production of hydrotreated vegetable oil, a biofuel made by the hydrocracking or hydrogenation of vegetable oil.

Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) is a biofuel made by the hydrocracking or hydrogenation of vegetable oil. Hydrocracking, which breaks big molecules into smaller ones using hydrogens, can be used to create substitutes for gasoline, diesel, propane, kerosene and other chemical feedstock. Diesel fuel created by hydrotreating is called green diesel.

LG Chem said the construction of a hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) joint plant would be completed by 2024. "Through this cooperation, we are able to strengthen the foundation for a stable supply of raw materials for the expansion of eco-friendly products," LG Chem's petrochemical business head Noh Kug-lae said in a statement on September 2.

LG Chem said the global market demand for HVO is expected to grow from six million tons in 2020 to 30 million tons in 2025, due to global renewable energy policies and mandatory use of eco-friendly jet fuel and diesel. Dansuk with a stable supply and demand system for raw materials such as waste cooking oil will be able to expand its bio-energy product portfolio to high value-added products.

LG Chem said that HVO raw materials would be used to produce high absorbent resin, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, a common thermoplastic polymer known as ABS which is widely used in manufacturing household and consumer goods as well as medical and industrial products. The company is the global top maker of transparent ABS products with an annual capacity of about two million tons.

LG Chem has expanded a lineup of eco-friendly products. In August, the company earmarked 2.6 trillion won ($2.24 billion) to expand the production of eco-friendly materials and accelerate the introduction of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), a trendy corporate operation method that focuses on the use of green energy and environmentally-friendly management.

LG Chem would foster its production base in Daesan, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Seoul, as an ESG business mecca for the production of bio and eco-friendly materials, waste plastic recycling, and greenhouse gas reduction by 2028. In Daesan, the company would build a polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) plant with an annual capacity of 50,000 tons and a new polyolefin elastomer (POE) plant capable of producing 100,000 tons per year.

PBAT is a biodegradable random copolymer marketed as a fully biodegradable alternative to low-density polyethylene. It is ideal for combination with other biodegradable polymers that have high elastic modulus and strength. POEs offer unique performance capabilities for compounded products and are used in automotive exteriors and interiors, wire and cable coatings, films, medical products, adhesives, footwear and foams.

In October 2020, LG Chem developed a new biodegradable material using corn-based glucose and crude glycerol that can realize mechanical properties equivalent to synthetic resins. A month later, the company partnered with Neste, a leading biodiesel producer based in Finland, to accelerate the production of eco-friendly materials. Neste's bio-based raw materials are produced from vegetable oils such as renewable waste cooking oil and palm oil.
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