New hybrid PET/F polymer successfully processed into preforms
Advanced co-polyester made by Origin Materials and Husky Technologies using PET/F. Resin, mould, and bottle shown. Advanced co-polyester bottles made by Origin Materials and Husky Technologies using PET/F.
Origin Materials, Inc., a leading carbon negative materials company based in Sacramento, California and Canada-headquartered Husky Technologies, an injection moulding supplier of equipment and services to the plastics industry, have joined forces on the development and commercialisation of a hybrid polymer comprised of PET into which FDCA has been incorporated. The new polymer is called PET/F.
FDCA - furandicarboxylic acid - is a bio-based furanic monomer which may also be polymerised to produce PEF, or polyethylene furanoate, a biopolyester suitable for use in advanced packaging and other applications. Origin’s FDCA is cost-effectively produced from the company’s chloromethylfurfural, which is a carbon-negative precursor for many chemistries, including Origin’s PET material. Origin chloromethylfurfural (CMF) is made from sustainable wood residues, turning the carbon found in these residues into useful materials, while capturing carbon in the process.
Origin has now successfully combined FDCA with PET, producing a ‘tunable’ hybrid polymer offering improved performance properties compared with PET and full recyclability, the company said. A better mechanical performance and particularly, superior barrier properties will enable longer shelf life - properties that can be controlled by adjusting the manufacturing conditions and the quantity of FDCA copolymer used. The company declined to comment on how much FDCA was used to produce PET/F.
A Husky HyPet system.
Husky moulded the resulting PET/F hybrid polymer into preforms that were then blown into bottles, using Husky’s injection moulding technologies and manufacturing equipment. The project showed the potential for integrating PET/F into existing PET production systems at a commercial manufacturing-scale processing level.
“Preserving and protecting what matters, in even more sustainable ways is foundational to everything we do at Husky. Our collaboration with Origin Materials is an exciting example of combining material innovation with state-of-the-art polymer processing technologies,” said John Galt, CEO of Husky Technologies.
Going forward, Origin expects to develop and sell a family of 100% bio-based, low-carbon fully recyclable PET/F polymers, promoting the adoption of FDCA as a drop-in for the production of biomass-based polymers using Origin technology.The company expects to achieve the commercial-scale production of FDCA, PEF, and PET/F using its patented technology platform.As an alternative to PET, the biopolyester PEF also offers an attractive combination of sustainability and performance benefits for packaging, with the potential to replace glass and aluminium. Compared with glass and aluminium, PEF can offer superior break protection and light-weighting for shipping, making it especially suited for sensitive products.“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. “We are pleased to work with Husky […] to achieve this performance milestone, showing the ready processibility of our innovative hybrid polymers using Husky’s commercial-scale injection moulding equipment,” he added.Asked about price levels for PET/F, especially compared to plain PET or PEF, Origin stated that it was not disclosing specifics on this, other than to say that ‘PET/F is expected to be 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’.
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