LG Chem Ltd. and GS Caltex will team up to jointly develop mass production technologies of eco-friendly materials for a circulating economy and carbon neutrality.
LG Chem signed Joint Development Agreement (JDA) related to the development of mass production technology for 3HP (hydroxypropionic acid), which is a biodegradable plastic material, and production of prototypes with GS Caltex at the LG Science Park in Magok.
3HP is an eco-friendly material produced through a microorganism fermenting process of bio-materials such as glucose and unrefined glycerol (derived from vegetable oil). It is drawing attention as a next-generation platform chemical that can be used as raw material for a variety of materials including not only biodegradable plastic, but also super absorbent polymers (SAP) used in diapers, paints, adhesives and glues, coating materials, carbon fiber, an so on.
LG Chem possesses proprietary 3HP fermenting technologies, and using these, the company successfully developed PLH (Poly Lactate 3-Hydroxypropionate), which is a new biodegradable material that can configure mechanical properties equivalent to synthetic resins for the first time in the world back in October of last year.
This agreement was made possible as the two companies shared a common interest in terms of the goal for 3HP mass production and commercialization using the synergy effects of LG Chem’s fermented production technology and GS Caltex’s process facility technologies.
The two companies plan to accelerate entry into the biodegradable materials and various bio plastic markets through the production of a 3HP prototype from 2023. In addition, they will also actively discuss plans for collaboration through the white biotech sector in the future, as well as on plans for realizing a sustainable bio ecosystem.
LG Chem plans to accelerate preparations for mass production of the new biodegradable material, PLH, which was developed successfully for the first time in the world last year using its proprietary 3HP technologies.
PLH that was developed by LG Chem is a biodegradable material with 100% bio-based contents using glucose and unrefined glycerol, and it is a new material that can manifest mechanical properties and transparency equivalent to that of synthetic resins as a single material.
The goal is to produce a prototype by 2023, and plans are in place to review additional investments for mass production through evaluations by client companies in the future.
Regarding this agreement, GS Caltex President Sae Hong Hur stated, “As microplastics have become a serious environmental issue, products that quickly decompose in the natural ecosystem will be able to create sustainable value in that it will eco-friendly consumption.”
He added, “Through our cooperation in developing eco-friendly materials, the two companies will not only strength ESG capacities such as contributing to a circulating economy and reducing carbons, but also create economic value with high value-added products.”
LG Chem Chief Executive Officer Hak Cheol Shin commented, “In this current period where carbon neutrality has become a global mega-trend, the fact that a company leading the oil refining industry and another leading the chemical industry is cooperating for the development and commercialization of sustainable new materials has great meaning.”
He further elaborated saying, “By focusing on R&D in the eco-friendly materials sector, we will lead future technologies that can protect the environment and society.”