Inventure Agrees China Fatty Acids JV
Inventure Renewables, a US company focused on turning waste biomass into value-added products, has announced plans to build a plant in Jiangsu, China, using its recently developed soap carbonate technology that converts low-value processing residues into free fatty acids.
The Tuscaloosa, Alabama-headquartered company is undertaking the project with leading Asian agribusiness group Wilmar International and Belgian engineering company Desmet Ballestra. Construction is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2019. A start-up date was not disclosed.
“The announcement of the new plant is a validation of our soap carbonate technology and of our ability to walk a project from research to reality,” said John Brown, Inventure’s chief operating officer.
Inventure’s Mixed Super Critical Fluid (MSCF) technology is already being used by Wilmar to produce FAME [fatty acid methyl esters] for oleochemicals and biodiesel from a wide range of vegetable oil feedstocks. The Alabama company announced in June that it had been running its MSCF technology at Wilmar’s plant in Jiangsu for nearly a year.
Giuseppe Di Carpegna, general manager at Desmet Ballestra, said Inventure’s soap carbonate technology is attractive for two reasons. First, the process is more sustainable because it avoids the use of sulfuric acid, generates no acidic wastewater and traps CO2 as sodium bicarbonate in water. Second, it allows for near complete recovery of targeted oleochemical products and is thus much more cost-effective than recovering free fatty acids from palm oil or tallow.
Desmet Ballestra is co-operating with Inventure to industrialize and commercialize the technology and is providing engineering services and technical assistance for the plant’s construction and start-up.
Matt Morgenroth, Wilmar International’s group technical head, said the market for green oleochemicals is rapidly expanding and the adoption of Inventure’s soap carbonate technology will better position it to meet this demand.