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Gevo opens new plant in US to manufacture renewable plastic component

Renewable chemicals and biofuels company Gevo has opened its demonstration-scale plant in Silsbee, Texas, US, backed by Coca-Cola and Toray Industries to manufacture renewable plastic component Paraxylene.

The company is working with The Coca-Cola Company to deliver a new production technology for paraxylene, which is said to be a key building block for producing PET for beverage bottles.

Coca-Cola provided research and development support for the plant under a joint development agreement, while Toray Industries provided funding assistance for its construction.

Gevo is also working with Toray Industries to develop the component, a building block for fully renewable polyester for packaging films.

Fibers, plastics, films and chemicals producer Toray will purchase paraxylene from Gevo and will convert it into PET fibers, textiles and films for scale-up evaluation as well as market development purposes.

The Coca-Cola Company PlantBottle Packaging Innovation Platform general manager Scott Vitters said, "The opening of this facility is an important milestone toward our vision of creating all of our PET plastic packaging from responsibly-sourced plant materials."

Once converted to bio-based PET, Gevo’s paraxylene has potential for any commercial application served by petroleum-derived PET at present.

The completion of the demonstration-scale facility by Gevo is expected to be a major step to assess business potential for the fully renewable PET.