14 April 2015

Roquette reinforces its position as world leader in isosorbide

Roquette reinforces its position as world leader in isosorbide for the performance plastics and chemistry markets - The Group announces the launch of the world's largest isosorbide production unit

 Roquette , the world’s No. 5 starch producer, announces the launch of a new industrial unit for the production of isosorbide at its site in Lestrem, Pas-de-Calais, France. A global player in the processing of plant-based raw materials, the Roquette Group confirms its ambition to become a preferred supplier in the performance plastics and specialty chemistry markets.

Thanks to its new production unit, which has a capacity of 20,000 tons and uses high-performance technologies, Roquette offers its customers a range of POLYSORB® isosorbide in very high quality.

A new Roquette industrial unit for high-performance materials

The new Roquette unit, equipped with the latest technologies, produces isosorbide of very high purity responding to all quality requirements of its customers.

Thanks to this new industrial installation, Roquette can now reach high capacity of the different grades of isosorbide and satisfy the market expectations.

Based on its know-how, expertise and skills acquired over decades, Roquette has developed a unique patented process based on sorbitol, a product for which the Group is world leader. The different steps of purification help obtain isosorbide grades with over 99.5% isosorbide content.

Roquette’s Research & Development teams, as well as its Application Development Centers, support customers, offering innovative solutions that meet market requirements in terms of quality and functionalities. Roquette has also developed exclusive processes of shaping as well as packaging to facilitate handling.

Since 2002, the year of its first pilot unit launch, Roquette has always been convinced of the potential of isosorbide in performance materials. After its first industrial unit in 2007, the Group decided to invest in a new production facility to meet future market demands. This new workshop, built on the Roquette site at Lestrem, is now fully operational and benefits from the entire infrastructure of the Group’s largest industrial site.
POLYSORB® isosorbide, an innovative resource for the plastics and chemistry markets

Thanks to its technological benefits, POLYSORB® isosorbide is a solution of choice for performance plastics such as thermoplastics (polyesters, polycarbonates, thermoplastic polyurethanes) and curable resins (polyurethanes, epoxy resins, unsaturated resins, coatings…).

For example, thanks to POLYSORB® isosorbide of very high purity, the poly(ethylene-co-isosorbide) terephthalate (PEIT) exhibits a higher resistance to temperature while offering excellent properties of transparency.

POLYSORB® isosorbide is also used as a substitute for bisphenol A in polycarbonates, while improving the properties of this polymer, such as optical properties, resistance to ultra-violet (UV) light and better resistance to chemicals and high temperatures.

In parallel, isosorbide provides innovation in plasticizers. POLYSORB® ID is obtained from isosorbide and plant-based fatty acids. This 100% biosourced plasticizer offers key improvements in performance for PVC resins and can be used as an alternative for standard plasticizers like phthalates. It is recommended for numerous applications such as floor coverings for hospitals and schools, school furnishings and interior decoration.

A Group engagement

Conscious of the challenges facing the world today, Roquette  pursues a strategy of sustainable innovation by developing solutions from plant-based resources that reconcile environmental, economic and societal objectives.

Pascal Leroy, Vice-President Market Unit Plant-based Solutions, highlights: “Isosorbide and its derivatives illustrate the engagement of Roquette in the domain of plant-based chemistry. These new and innovative products complete the offer to industrial markets (paper, cardboard, detergents, materials, insulation, etc.) in which Roquette already holds a leading position. These solutions provide technological, environmental and health benefits to these markets, while being competitive.”

The new industrial isosorbide unit, along with the expertise of its dedicated teams, will support the development of innovative high-performance solutions for the global plastics and chemistry industry. Thanks to this investment, Roquette again proves its ambition to establish long-term, preferred partnerships with its customers.

Source: Roquette Group, press release, 2015-04-09.

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