|Workers pose for a picture before the first shipment of renewable benzene leaves Ulsan harbor in Korea for Shanghai, June 14. Courtesy of SK Geo Centric|
By Kim Jae-heun
SK Geo Centric, Neste and Covestro are cooperating to enable the production of a major polyurethane raw material based on renewable raw materials via mass balance.
The cooperation will see Neste provide SK Geo Centric with renewable Neste RE, an ISCC-certified feedstock for polymers and chemicals made from 100 percent renewable raw materials such as waste and residue oils and fats.
SK Geo Centric will process this feedstock into benzene at the company's facilities in Korea and supply it to Covestro to use as a raw material for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) at its site in Shanghai. MDI is a key raw material for the manufacture of rigid polyurethane foam, which is a well-proven insulating material for buildings and used in cold-chain storage helping to save CO2 emissions and reduce energy consumption during its product life.
The cooperation marks the start of possible future collaborations between the three companies, aiming at replacing fossil feedstocks with more sustainable ones in the production of polymers and chemicals in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
"We are delighted to ship and export our first renewable benzene produced with 100 percent renewable Neste RE feedstock," said Choi Woo-hyuk, vice president of SK Geo Centric's Aromatic Business Unit. "SK Geo Centric will actively work with Covestro and Neste as we mark the first collaboration of this kind in the Asia-Pacific region. We remain committed to expanding this cooperation."
"With renewable solutions available, we are now entering the phase of scaling up their usage in the chemical industry," Neste Executive Vice President Mercedes Alonso said. "This will be crucial in replacing the vast amounts of fossil resources the industry is currently depending on. To make this ramp-up a success, we'll need to establish collaborations along the value chain ― and this one between three sustainability-minded partners is a prime example of how the industry can do just that."
SK Geo Centric laid the foundation for the development of the petrochemical industry by operating the first naphtha-cracking facility in Korea in 1972. The company provides various automotive and packaging products as well as solutions that customers and markets require.