Origin, Husky Claim ‘Commercialization Milestone’ for Advanced Packaging
Firms successfully process novel hybrid ‘PET/F’ resin into preforms, then bottles
Origin Materials Inc. and Husky Technologies say they have used Husky’s commercial-scale injection molding equipment to successfully process a novel new hybrid polymer into preforms, and subsequently into bottles.
Origin, a carbon-negative materials company based in West Sacramento, Calif., termed the development “a milestone” in the commercialization of PET incorporating the biobased, sustainable chemical FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) for advanced packaging and other applications.
Origin said it has successfully polymerized FDCA into PET, and Husky, of Bolton, Ontario, Canada, then molded the resulting “PET/F” hybrid resin into preforms that were blow molded into bottles.
FDCA is a chemical building block with diverse applications that include polyesters, polyamides, polyurethanes, coating resins and plasticizers. It also is said to be the precursor for the next-generation sustainable polymer PEF (polyethylene furanoate).
Creating a ‘Tunable’ Hybrid Polymer
“By combining FDCA with PET,” the companies stated, “Origin has produced PET/F, a ‘tunable’ hybrid polymer offering performance enhancements and full recyclability.”
Derived from FDCA, PEF is said to offer an attractive combination of sustainability and performance benefits for packaging. In an email response to questions, an Origin spokesman declined to provide further details. He did, however, refer to a July 31 statement in which Origin said it expects its PEF to be 100 percent biobased, fully recyclable, have attractive unit economics and offer a significantly reduced carbon footprint, with superior strength, thermal properties and barrier properties compared to widely used petroleum-based materials.
“This is a key moment in the commercialization of cost-effective, low-carbon FDCA and PEF and the development of next-generation sustainable polymers generally,” according to John Bissell, Origin’s co-founder and co-CEO. “We believe these materials have the power to transform plastics and the materials economy.”
Recyclable, Biobased Resin From Biomass
Origin said it “expects to develop and sell a family of 100 percent biobased, low-carbon PET/F polymers with full recyclability and superior performance compared with traditional 100 percent petroleum-derived PET.” Origin further anticipates that PET/F will offer ”tunable” performance, with properties such as enhanced mechanical performance and superior barrier properties enabling longer shelf life that can be controlled by adjusting manufacturing conditions and the quantity of FDCA copolymer.
The companies said this innovation “demonstrates a pathway for the drop-in market adoption of FDCA to produce superior polymers cost-effectively from biomass using Origin technology.” Origin expects to enable the production of FDCA, PEF and PET/F at commercial scale using its patented technology platform, which turns the carbon found in sustainable wood residues into useful materials, while capturing carbon in the process.
John Galt, CEO of Husky Technologies, added: “Our collaboration with Origin Materials is an exciting example of combining material innovation with state-of-the-art polymer processing technologies.”
The companies declined to comment on a timetable for commercialization or on pricing of the new materials.