PEFPACK II, a step forward for sustainability
Toray is collaborating with a French government sponsored consortium called “PEFPACK II” for the development of a new polyester grade, Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF) 100% bio-based. This new polymer represents a very promising analog to Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) with the advantage of being synthesized with 100% bio-sourced raw materials.
In 2016, the global production of PET was estimated at almost 56 million tons per year using mainly petroleum based raw materials. Today 30% bio-based PET can be offered industrially using bio-sourced ethylene glycol. The scope of our present research work is to develop the production and supply chain of a 100% Bio-sourced PEF resin.
The main objectives of the PEFPACK II project
• Define an industrial process for PEF synthesis
• Develop specific grades to include flexible film applications
• Identify key application performance requirements including barrier, mechanical properties and thermal properties
• To study the recycling chain of use
PEF-100% Bio-sourced: a promising analog to PET
PEF has been shown to have desirable properties particularly useful for food packaging. Indeed, the oxygen barrier is six times more effective with PEF rather than PET and the humidity barrier is twice as a good. Moreover, PEF polymer exhibiting enhanced thermal properties, appears as a promising candidate in food industries requiring very severe regulatory commitment (Direct food contact, pasteurization, sterilization).
The new polymer is giving better thermal and barrier performance versus PET thanks to Terephthalic acid being replaced by 2, 5 furan di-carboxylic (FDCA). This last monomer has been classified by the US Energy department as one of 12 molecules to be used in priority for Future Green Chemistry.
Our PEFPACK II project debuted in January 2018 and we have a target completion date of 2022. Early 2019 we will conduct our first scale up pilot trials with the goal of providing enough resin to commence preliminary application testing during Q2 2019.