Ashland, Cargill team up on biobased chemical project

By Jerry W. Kram
Kentucky-based Ashland Inc. is teaming up with Cargill Inc. to create a joint venture for the development of chemicals from renewable resources.

The project's first venture will be the construction of a plant to convert glycerin from biodiesel production into propylene glycol. The facility will be located at an undetermined site in Europe and will produce 65,000 metric tons of the chemicals per year that can be used in antifreeze, resins, lubricants, cosmetics, detergents and other products. The global production of propylene glycol is more than 1.4 million tons per year, and demand is growing between 3 percent and 7 percent each year. "We believe the chemical market has reached a tipping point where biobased and petroleum-based options are both desired by the market and practical to produce," said Walter Solomon, vice president and chief growth officer of Ashland. "To be in a position where Ashland can offer biobased specialty chemicals in the future, we need to foster the creation of biobased basic chemicals now."

Ashland is a diversified global chemical company providing products in more than 100 countries. Cargill is an international supplier of food, agricultural, and risk management products and services.