SK chemicals ready for mass production of PO3G polymer derived from biological raw materials

By Lim Chang-won Posted : May 2, 2022, 14:50 Updated : September 6, 2022, 10:12

[Courtesy of SK chemiclas]

SEOUL -- SK chemicals, a unit of South Korea's SK Group, is ready for the mass production of PO3G (Polyoxytrimethylene Glycol), a polymer derived from biological raw materials, using fermented corn. The new material brand-named "Ecotrion" reduces greenhouse gas emissions and offers long durability.

SK chemicals has completed the establishment of a PO3G production line in the southeastern industrial port city of Ulsan. PO3G products would be mainly used for materials that require elasticity, such as polyurethane and spandex. This family of high-performance polyols is an ideal replacement for petroleum-based ingredients as it offers numerous advantages in various fields of applications.

SK chemicals would gradually increase the production of PO3G in line with the market demand and accelerate efforts to tap into markets such as artificial leather, sneakers, fashion, and furniture with Ecotrion's excellent physical properties and eco-friendliness. Sneakers and fashion products using PO3G have the advantage of smoother, elastic resilience and wear resistance over existing products, making them more wearable. 

"The white bio-industry is growing rapidly with domestic and foreign carbon reduction policies," SK Chemicals' new business development division head Chung Jae-joon said in a statement on May 2. "We will further strengthen the green business system based on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) management as a bio-material project that we have been preparing."

Plastic products are broken down into microscopic sizes but they still remain in the environment. The accumulation of plastic waste has become a serious global problem. White biotechnology is an area of science that is devoted to using living cells collected from yeast, molds, microorganisms and plants, and enzymes to create products that can be easily degraded.

White biotechnology production processes also consume less energy and create less waste. It has been researched worldwide to reduce plastic pollution. South Korea nurtures the white biotechnology industry that focuses on the creation and distribution of biodegradable bioplastics. Industry experts suggest the market's demand and distribution networks for biodegradable bioplastics must be established before commercialization kicks into full gear in order to popularize degradable bioplastics.
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