[Photo provided by SK Global Chemical Co.]
South Korea’s two leading chemical companies Kolon Industries Inc. and SK Global Chemical Co. will be able to market their collaboration in next-generation biodegradable plastic in the third quarter.
The two companies signed a strategic partnership for the polybuthylene adipate-to-terephthalate (PBAT) business on Wednesday.
PBAT is biodegradable plastics made from fossil resources, unlike bio-based plastics made from carbohydrate-rich plants such as corn, sugar cane, etc. Plastics usually require about 100 years or more for total decomposition, but PBAT biodegrades by more than 90 percent within six months.
Despite its two- to three-times higher price than the widely-used plastics, PBAT demand is fast rising amid growing interest in eco-friendly products. PBAT now is traded at 4 million won ($3,580.06) per ton, surging from 2-3 million won last year.
The global PBAT market is estimated to grow to 800,000 tons by 2025 from 220,000 tons in 2020, according to industry sources. The market when converting the volume into the value is projected at 2 trillion won by 2025, expanded from 550 billion won last year.
In Korea, famous coffee franchises use spoons and forks made with PBAT. Most of raw materials for PBAT currently are imported from China.
Kolon Industries and SK Global Chemical started joint development of PBAT last year. They plan to produce the prototype and obtain a joint patent within the first half of this year for mass production in the third quarter.
Kolon Industries will produce 1,000-2,000 tons of PBAT per year by 2023 and then increase its output to 50,000 tons. SK Global Chemical will be in charge of supplying raw materials and rear process.
“I’m looking forward to great synergy from our partnership in building the eco-friendly plastic ecosystem. Kolon Industries will keep on developing sustainable materials in consideration of the environment,” said Jang Hee-goo, CEO of Kolon Industries.
SK Global Chemical CEO Na Kyung-soo also welcomed the partnership, saying “SK Global Chemical and Kolon Industries will work together to enhance the competitiveness of our product.”
By Won Ho-sup and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]