By David Shaw, ERJ staff
Berlin, Germany -- Lanxess has made trial quantities of bio-sourced butyl rubber. Lanxess CEO Axel Heitmann ealrier this week showed shareholders a small ball of butyl rubber made with bio-sourced isobutene. The material used conventional isoprene in its manufacture.
The news was revealed at the Challenge Bibendum event in Berlin, where Dr Ron Commander, head of Lanxess' butyl business unit said the company has taken bio-sourced materials and polymerised them in its laboratories. Commander said the bio-sourced material came from Gevo, in which Lanxess has invested $27 million in two separate tranches. He said Lanxess is still looking for a partner to supply bio-sourced isoprene.
Commander said the construction of its large butyl rubber plant in Singapore is on target, both in terms of time and cost, and the company expects to bring the unit on stream in 2013.
He said demand for butyl is ruunning high at present, and Lanxess is adding capacity at its plant in Antwerp to help meet te strong demand. That is due on stream at the beginning of 2012.
butyl rubber is made by polymerising isobutylene and isoprene, in which isobutylene makes up around 98 percent of te raw material.