Dow teams up with New Energy Blue to develop renewable plastic from corn residue

NORTH AMERICA – Chemical company Dow has partnered with bio-conversion venture, New Energy Blue to develop renewable plastic materials from corn residue.

Dow says that this partnership aims to reduce carbon emissions from plastic production while meeting the growing demand for sustainable and recyclable plastic applications in various industries.

The two companies signed a long-term supply agreement, under which New Energy Blue will develop biobased ethylene using renewable agricultural residues.

This is claimed to be the first agreement in North America that aims to generate plastic source materials from corn stover and will be the first time Dow leverages agricultural feedstock for plastic production in the region.

Karen S. Carter, Dow President of Packaging & Specialty Products said: “We are unlocking the value of agriculture residues in this new partnership with New Energy Blue.

“By committing to purchase their bio-based ethylene, we are helping to enable innovations in waste recycling, meeting demands for bio-based plastics from customers, and strengthening an ecosystem for diverse and renewable solutions.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Dow will support the development of New Energy Freedom, a new facility located in Mason City, Iowa.

The facility is expected to process 275 kilotons of corn stover annually and produces commercial quantities of second-generation ethanol and clean lignin.

Approximately 50 percent of the ethanol will be transformed into bio-based ethylene feedstock for Dow’s products.

Furthermore, the agreement offers Dow similar commercial supply options for New Energy Blue’s next four projects, thus supporting the scalability of its production and providing a reliable market for agricultural residues.

These five projects combined are projected to displace more than one million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions every year, while also reducing Dow’s reliance on fossil fuels and associated GHG emissions.

Through this partnership, Dow plans to increase its usage of renewable resources that are still recyclable, transforming them into products that are commonly used by consumers.

Additionally, since corn stover emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during decomposition, the collaboration with New Energy Blue enables Dow to repurpose this otherwise wasted carbon, thereby contributing to a reduction in carbon emissions from agriculture.

New Energy Blue CEO Thomas Corle concluded: “Together, we’re building a future not only in the farm fields of Iowa using corn stover, but across America and around the world using a variety of biomass from grain straws to tall perennial grasses – wherever there’s an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions from farming, support farmers in rural communities, and enable the production of the sustainable, low-carbon plastics used in everyday life.”

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