Chemistry & Life Sciences

Roquette Launches World's Largest Isosorbide Production Unit

09.04.2015 -

Roquette, the world's No. 5 starch producer, announced the launch of a new 20,000 tons/year industrial unit for the production of isosorbide at its site in Lestrem, Pas-de-Calais, France. A global player in the processing of plant-based raw materials, the group confirms its ambition to become a preferred supplier in the performance plastics and specialty chemistry markets.

The new unit, now fully operational, is equipped with the latest technologies and produces isosorbide of very high purity responding to all quality requirements of its customers. Thanks to this new industrial installation, Roquette can now reach high capacity of the different grades of isosorbide and satisfy the market expectations.

Roquette has developed a patented process based on sorbitol, a product for which the Group is world leader. The different steps of purification help obtain isosorbide grades with over 99.5% isosorbide content. The company has also developed exclusive processes of shaping as well as packaging to facilitate handling.

Thanks to its technological benefits, Polysorb isosorbide is a solution of choice for performance plastics such as thermoplastics (polyesters, polycarbonates, thermoplastic polyurethanes) and curable resins (polyurethanes, epoxy resins, unsaturated resins, coatings...).

For example, thanks to Polysorb isosorbide of very high purity, the poly(ethylene-co-isosorbide) terephthalate (PEIT) exhibits a higher resistance to temperature while offering excellent properties of transparency. The isosorbide is also used as a substitute for bisphenol A in polycarbonates, while improving the properties of this polymer, such as optical properties, resistance to ultra-violet (UV) light and better resistance to chemicals and high temperatures.

In parallel, isosorbide provides innovation in plasticizers. Polysorb ID is obtained from isosorbide and plant-based fatty acids. This 100% biosourced plasticizer offers key improvements in performance for PVC resins and can be used as an alternative for standard plasticizers like phthalates. It is recommended for numerous applications such as floor coverings for hospitals and schools, school furnishings and interior decoration.