West Virginia Department of Commerce Kureha produces biodegradable polymer with breakthrough technology in West Virginia

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Kureha produces biodegradable polymer with breakthrough technology in West Virginia

Biodegradable polymersKureha produces biodegradable polymer with breakthrough technology in West Virginia

Plastic bottles may soon be made with the biodegradable polymer produced in West Virginia.

Kureha PGA LLC, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Kureha Corp., invested more than $100 million to build a specialty plastics plant to produce polyglycolic acid (PGA), a high-performance polymer resin which is used in dissolvable sutures.

Located at the DuPont site in Belle, the new plant will produce PGA under the name Kuredux™ PGA. Kuredux™.

Breakthrough technology
In the past, manufacturers had no cost-effective process to produce high volumes of PGA. As a result, production of the resin had been limited to small scale operations making surgical sutures.

Not any more.

“The chemistry to produce PGA has been known for years. The real breakthrough is in the technology to make it commercially viable, to cost-effectively produce it in large volumes,” said Tom Provost, Kureha PGA plant manager.

One targeted application for Kuredux™ PGA is multi-layer PET bottles for carbonated soft drinks and beer. Because Kuredux™ PGA offers a gas barrier 100 times greater than that of PET, it is possible to reduce the amount of PET used in these bottles by more than 20 percent, while maintaining the equivalent barrier against carbon dioxide loss. This bottle redesign has the potential of yielding cost reduction as well as source reduction opportunities in the marketplace. In addition, Kuredux™ PGA is compatible with widely practiced industrial PET recycling processes, ensuring the material does not interfere with the purity and quality of recycled PET.

Kureha Corporation is a leading global supplier of specialty chemicals and plastics used in consumer packaging, household products, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and other industrial applications.

Learn about the Governor’s Guaranteed Work Force Program training for Kureha:   Learn more.

Learn about Bayer MaterialScience producing innovative polyols in a safe work environment:  Learn more.
Chemical and Polymer Target Industry
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West Virginia is home to nearly 150 chemical and polymer manufacturing companies that employ approximately 12,800 workers. Nearly 25 percent of the state’s $4.8 billion exports are in chemicals and polymers.
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