Coke investing millions in firms to accelerate development of plant-based plastics
Beverage giant Coca-Cola Co. is making what it said was a multi-million dollar investment in three bio-based companies in an effort to accelerate the development of a PlantBottle made entirely from plants. The Atlanta-based beverage company said Dec. 15 that it is investing in three companies: • Virent Inc., based in Madison, Wis., which make a bio-based feedstock, BioForm X, for paraxylene • Gevo Inc., in Englewood, Colo., which has developed a 100 percent renewable isobutanol, which is a building block for paraxylene. • Avantium Research and Technology, a Netherlands company whose YXY chemical catalytic technology has led to the company’s development of a new bio-based plastic, PEF, to make 100 percent bio-based bottles that could be a replacement for today’s PET bottles. Coke’s aim is to advance the technology to make purified terephthalic acid from non-petroleum sources. PTA accounts for 70 percent of the PET bottle formulation by weight and monoethylene glycol the other 30 percent. Since December 2009, Coke has been marketing a PlantBottle with the 30 percent MEG portion made from non-petroleum-based renewable resources. Coke said it has sold 10 billion PlantBottles since it was introduced, and it now sells the bottles in 20 countries. The world’s other beverage giant, PepsiCo, said in March that it has developed a 100 percent renewable PET bottle, but that it will not go into pilot production until sometime in 2012,. Even then, Pepsi said it would limit quantities to between 100,000 and 500,000 bottles.