Ethylene Glycol (EG) is an organic compound; it is used as an intermediate for manufacturing of polyester fibers in textile industry, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in bottle manufacturing and antifreeze in automotive sector. There are mainly three categories of ethylene glycol such as mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), diethylene glycol (DEG) and triethylene glycol (TEG). MEG is produced by the non-catalytic liquid-phase hydration of ethylene oxide. DEG and TEG are coproducts of EG. TEG is used in gas dehydration, plasticizers and solvents while DEG is used as a fiber-finish component, mold release agent, antifreeze, belt wetting agent, emulsifiers and many more.
Traditionally, 80% of ethylene glycol is derived from fossil fuels and rest from natural sources like sugar cane ethanol but due to instability in crude oil prices and less availability of feedstock in the market; companies are concentrating more towards green technology in order to reduce dependence upon oil and gas feedstock. Green technology includes carbon dioxide (CO2) and other sources for producing MEG.
Recently, U.S. based Liquid Light Technology signed an agreement with the Coca-Cola, consumer-packaged goods (CPG) firm for its technology to produce MEG from CO2 as part of PlantBottle Packaging Program. As per the company, the technology has a calibre to minimize the environmental footprint and also to reduce the overall production cost of MEG to manufacture plant based PET bottle. In 2016, Liquid Light Technology is also planning to set up a pilot plant facility in Canada and the first commercial plant expected to establish in 2020.
The main advantage of this technology is by using CO2 from corn to ethanol plant facility; they can produce bio-based MEG and also helps in monetization of the excess CO2 stream.
As per the current trends, chemical manufacturers and ethanol manufactures can utilise the waste CO2 and can have opportunity to produce MEG in lower costs with greater sustainability like packaging industry can offer sustainable packaged products to their end-users in low cost.
So, the innovation of green technology, to create sustainable environment and also for meeting the stringent government regulations will be the future scenario of ethylene glycol market.
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