Bio-based, low-carbon PET/F polymers Origin Materials and Husky achieve commercialisation milestone for advanced packaging
A significant breakthrough has been announced in the commercialisation of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) incorporating the sustainable chemical FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) for advanced packaging and other uses. This milestone is a joint effort of Origin Materials, recognized for their work in carbon-negative materials, and Husky, renowned as a global technology provider serving essential needs.
Origin Materials, a firm specializing in carbon-negative materials, together with Husky, a company that facilitates the provision of vital requirements globally through technology, have recently publicized a significant step forward in the commercialization of PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Origin successfully polymerized the bio-based sustainable chemical FDCA into the common recyclable plastic, PET, and Husky molded 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 percent bio-based, low-carbon PET/F polymers offering full recyclability and superior performance compared with traditional 100 percent petroleum-derived PET. 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.
According to the companies, this innovation demonstrates a pathway for the drop-in market adoption of FDCA to produce superior 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.
FDCA is a chemical building block with diverse applications including polyesters, polyamides, polyurethanes, coating resins, and plasticizers. 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, offers an attractive combination of sustainability and performance benefits for packaging. Origin’s PEF is expected to be 100 percent bio-based, fully recyclable, have attractive unit economics, and offer a significantly reduced carbon footprint, with superior strength, thermal properties, and barrier properties compared to today’s widely used petroleum-based materials.