New Jersey-based Liquid Light has entered into a new technology development agreement with Coca-Cola to further accelerate the development of Liquid Light’s method to transform carbon dioxide (CO2) into monoethylene glycol (MEG).
Liquid Light’s approach enables a more efficient use of plant material to make MEG. For example, a bio-ethanol production facility could make bio-MEG from the CO2 byproduct that results from converting plant material into ethanol. The novel technology uses catalysts and electricity. In an initial step, a catalyst-covered electrode produces a two-carbon oxalate molecule from CO2 molecules. Separate catalysts then drive reactions to form ethylene glycol, a widely used industrial chemical and a precursor to polyester fibre and plastic bottles.
The main advantage of the process is its potentially lower feedstock costs. If electricity is provided by natural gas, nuclear, or renewable sources, Liquid Light’s process could also have lower carbon emissions than conventional methods, the company said. Furthermore, it gives chemical producers greater sustainability. Firms with waste CO2, like ethanol producers, can turn that waste into revenue; and brands that use large amounts of plastics in their packaging can offer a more sustainably-packaged product, Liquid Light added.
For instance, MEG is one of the components used to make Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle, the first PET bottle made entirely of renewable plant-based materials. The company unveiled the world’s first fully recyclable PET plastic bottle made entirely from renewable plant materials in June.
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