The Associated Press reports that the world’s first plant to produce a chemical compound, to be used in the production of plastics with renewable sources, was unveiled earlier this week.
Italian biochemical company Novamont has invested more than 100 million euros ($112 million) to convert an abandoned plant, located in Bottrighe near Rovigo in Italy’s Po River delta, to start industrial production of the chemical compound bio-butanediol, made from sugars derived from corn biomass.
The new Mater-Biotech plant’s production will primarily be used for biodegradable plastic for fruit and vegetable bags, food service products and shopping bags, according to the AP.
The converted plant, which starts production on Friday, Sept. 30, employs 70-plus people. Ten of the employees previously worked at the plant which closed about a decade ago.
Until this week, industrial production of butanediol had been from fossil fuel sources. According to the AP, the new plant will produce 30,000 tons a year, with the current global market running around 2 million tons.