Trinseo Works with Russia’s ETB on Bio-butadiene

30.04.2021 - US plastics and rubber producer Trinseo has signed a letter of intent to collaborate with Russia’s ETB Catalytic Technologies to develop bio-based 1,3-butadiene, a key feedstock for making tires.

The companies will explore the opportunities to scale up ETB’s single-stage process for producing bio-based 1,3-butadiene from ethanol using a polyfunctional heterogeneous catalyst. ETB said its technology has a high selectivity and conversion rate that substantially improves product yield per tonne of feedstock, while low process temperature leads to lower energy costs.

Initially, the collaboration will focus on demonstrating the viability of sustainable ethanol-based synthetic rubber in support of green tire production.

"ETB is driven by the idea of bringing bio-based butadiene to the industry through our proprietary, patented process – currently demonstrated at our pilot plant in Russia. By working closely with Trinseo, we aim to unlock new opportunities throughout the value chain from biomass to end product,” said ETB’s CEO Vladimir Trembovolsky. “ETB believes that true adoption of bio-based monomers is only possible through close collaboration between industry players along the entire value chain.”

With ETB’s support, Trinseo will conduct a feasibility study into building a dedicated pilot plant in Europe. The study is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Once operational, it is intended that the plant will include a purification unit to achieve a purity target of 99.7%.

“The ability to derive bio-based butadiene from ethanol with close to 100% purity enables our customers to develop more sustainable products without compromising on performance,” said Francesca Reverberi, Trinseo’s vice president, engineered materials & synthetic rubber.

Trinseo said that within the past six months it has achieved International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) and become the first synthetic rubber provider globally to gain mass balance certification. ISCC is a global scheme certifying sustainability, traceability and greenhouse gas emission savings.

Last month, Trinseo announced it was collaborating with BASF to produce styrene based on circular feedstock. It has been sourcing first supplies of the synthetic styrene feedstock for the solution-styrene butadiene rubber that it supplies to major tire manufacturers, and for its polystyrene products used in food packaging and appliances.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist