Recyclable PET polymer incorporating furandicarboxylic acid successfully processed into preforms

Origin Materials, Inc. and Husky Technologies announced a milestone in the commercialisation of PET incorporating the sustainable chemical FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) for advanced packaging and other applications.

Origin successfully polymerised the bio-based sustainable chemical FDCA into the common recyclable plastic, PET, and Husky moulded the resulting “PET/F” hybrid polymer into preforms that were then blown into bottles. The companies used Husky’s injection moulding technologies and manufacturing equipment, a commercial manufacturing-scale level of processing demonstrating the ability of PET/F, a polymer made with FDCA, to be integrated into existing PET production systems.

Origin expects to develop and sell a family of 100% bio-based, low-carbon PET/F polymers offering full recyclability and superior performance compared with traditional 100% petroleum-derived PET, as the company state. Origin anticipates that PET/F will offer “tunable” performance, with properties like enhanced mechanical performance and superior barrier properties enabling longer shelf life controlled by adjusting manufacturing conditions and the quantity of FDCA copolymer.

This innovation demonstrates a pathway for the drop-in market adoption of FDCA to produce polymers cost-effectively from biomass using Origin technology. Origin expects to enable the production of FDCA, PEF (polyethylene furanoate), and PET/F at commercial scale using its patented technology platform, which turns the carbon found in sustainable wood residues into useful materials, while capturing carbon in the process.

“This is a key moment in the commercialisation of cost-effective, low-carbon FDCA and PEF and the development of next-generation sustainable polymers generally. We believe these materials have the power to transform plastics and the material economy,” said John Bissell, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Origin Materials.

FDCA is a chemical building block with diverse applications including polyesters, polyamides, polyurethanes, coating resins, and plasticisers. FDCA is also the precursor for the next-generation sustainable polymer PEF (polyethylene furanoate). By combining FDCA with PET, Origin has produced PET/F, a “tunable” hybrid polymer offering performance enhancements and full recyclability.

PEF, another product derived from FDCA, is claimed to offer an attractive combination of sustainability and performance benefits for packaging. Origin’s PEF is expected to be 100% bio-based, fully recyclable, have attractive unit economics, and offer a reduced carbon footprint, with good strength, thermal properties, and barrier properties compared to today’s widely used petroleum-based materials.

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