LG Chem Plans Complex for Ecofriendly Materials

23.08.2021 - South Korean chemical giant LG Chem has announced plans to invest 2.6 trillion won – or $2.2 billion – in building 10 new plants for environmentally friendly materials by 2028. LG said the move is aimed at transforming its business structure toward high-value sustainability businesses.

The complex will be built on a new 790,000 m2 site on the Daesan 3 industrial site in Seosan, Chungnam province, following an investment agreement with the province and the city of Seosan. Construction is scheduled to start this year, with the two plants expected to go into commercial production in 2024.

LG, which already operates several chemical plants at Daesan, said it wants to develop the proposed complex as “a mecca for ESG-based businesses, from bio-based raw material production to eco-friendly materials, waste plastic recycling and greenhouse gas reduction.”

“This investment agreement is a part of the sustainable growth strategy and a signal to announce the full-fledged scale-up of the eco-friendly material business,” said LG Chem CEO Hak Cheol Shin.

The first plants to be built will produce polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT) and polyolefin elastomer (POE). The PBAT plant will have a capacity of 50,000 t/y while the POE plant will produce 100,000 t/y, taking LG Chem’s current POE capacity to 380,000 t/y in total. This will make it the second-largest plant in the world in terms of production capacity, said LG Chem.

PBAT is a biodegradable resin that is used in agricultural and disposable films. Synthetic resin POE has high insulation and moisture barrier properties and superior power generation efficiency, and is seeing rapidly-growing demand in protective films for solar panels.

According to LG Chem, PBAT and POE are forecast to continue growing at an average annual rate of 30% until 2025 driven by rising demand for perishable plastics and the expansion of new and renewable energy.  The Seoul-based group is anticipating an increase in annual sales from the new PBAT/POE production of more than 470 billion won, or $400 million.

The company did not give any further details on the other eight plants included in the complex.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist