Earlier today, Dow Chemical and Mitsui announced that they are forming a new joint venture to produce sugarcane-sourced ethanol and eventually biopolymers to serve packaging, hygiene and medical markets.
This joint venture will bring Dow/Mitsui head to head with Brazil’s Braskem, the current leader in biopolymer and sugarcane ethanol research and production. Increasing competition in this green plastics field is a good indicator that this is an attractive market for companies to invest in. Competition will also breed innovation in research, development and adoption of biopolymers.
This is also no small undertaking for Dow/Mitsui – the joint venture will likely cost more than $2 billion. Dow/Mitsui aim to do the following:
- build a sugarcane mill by the end of 2011
- by mid 2013, produce 240 million litres of ethanol annually
- by 2015, begin mass production of biopolymers and sugarcane products (projected volume of 350,000 tonnes annually)