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AECI INVESTS IN RENEWABLE CHEMICALS START-UP

Monday, 24 July 2017

AECI is on its way to becoming a global renewable chemicals business after investing US$5 million (± R65 million) in Origin Materials, a start-up based in California, USA, that has pioneered the development of bio-based chemicals which can be processed into a large number of products for application in global markets worth over US$200 billion.

Origin’s proprietary process uses 100% sustainable and renewable resources that do not divert resources or land from food production for human or animal consumption, and includes feedstock such as wood chips, sawdust, and previously used cardboard. A good example of Origin’s appeal and traction is the announcement by Danone and Nestlé –two of the largest bottled water companies in the world – in March 2017 that they were partnering with Origin in the development and launch of a PET plastic bottle from 100% bio-based material. Like today’s PET, it will be lightweight, protective, recyclable and transparent, while being good for the environment.

AECI has joined forces with Origin Materials to form an industrial partnership to support the development of renewable technologies.

“The partnership with Origin fits right into our core values; going green, being bold (and) being innovative... taking bottles from a petroleum-based polymer to a 100% green bio-based polymer. The market will welcome this and embrace this (technology) and we look forward to playing a role in industrialising this project”, said Mark Dytor, Chief Executive of AECI. Thanks to complementary skills and shared vision, AECI looks to assist Origin and its alliance partners in developing and industrialising the process for producing at least 95% bio-based PET plastic bottles at commercial scale as early as 2020. “By working in alliance with both customers and industrial partners, we can achieve more in less time”, added John Bissell, Chief Executive of Origin Materials.

Origin Materials has noted that key to bringing new technologies to the market will be the effective and efficient scaling up of the technology to commercial scale. Origin is excited to have AECI as a partner, given the latter’s expertise and capabilities in chemical manufacture and application development gained from over 100 years serving the chemicals industry. “One of the most challenging aspects of commercialising a new polymer, material or process is getting the industrialisation right, taking it to scale properly. Executing it efficiently and doing it quickly is incredibly important. We think that AECI is one of the best partners to help us industrialise this technology”, said John Bissell.

The partnership is in line with AECI’s growth strategy, in terms of which it has been investigating the possibility of acquiring green technologies that complement its existing specialty chemicals portfolio. “This partnership reiterates our total commitment to pushing ourselves above and beyond, to develop products for our customers for a sustainable future”, concluded Mark Dytor.

AECI will release its interim financial results for the half-year ended 30 June 2017 on Wednesday, 26 July. More information will be made available at that time.


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