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Roquette and Rhodia Acetow combine strengths to develop new plant-based polymers

It seems as though not a week goes by without some plastic raw materials manufacturer announcing a collaboration with a producer of biobased materials. It's an interesting trend, and one that serves to underline the increasingly important role of bioplastics in the marketplace today as a sector that everyone wants to be part of.

This week, it's French starch specialist Roquette and Rhodia Acetow, a global manufacturer of cellulose acetate fiber. The two companies have signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to develop new plant-based polymers. As market demand for renewably sourced plastics continues to accelerate, the two companies will pool their expertise in the field of biobased polymers, to pursue the quest for new materials.

Jean Bernard Leleu, Deputy CEO and Research Innovation Development Director of Roquette commented: "Our goal is to continuously search for new solutions in growth markets and to boost our competitiveness with new technologies. This agreement is an excellent opportunity to speed up the development of a new range of starch derivatives, offering a cost competitive and sustainable alternative to fossil based polymers."

And while the plant-based polymer cellulose acetate and cellulose acetate fiber that is mainly used for the production of cigarette filters will remain the key products for Rhodia Acetow, the agreement opens the door for a welcome diversification of the company's product portfolio.

Thanks to Roquette's expertise in starch derivatives and Rhodia's industrial technologies, some trials of starch acetate production will be carried out from early 2012 providing several tons which will be available for testing in diverse industrial applications. Potential fields of application include paper, paint and dye sectors and pharmaceuticals.

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