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Europe: Matrìca green chemistry plant opens in Italy to produce monomers, intermediates from vegetable oils

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The first of the Matrìca green chemistry plants, the 50/50 joint venture between petrochemical company Versalis (Eni) and Italian research group Novamont was opened on June 16, 2014 in Italy.

First conceived in 2011 with the objective of converting the petrochemical plant at Porto Torres into an innovative, integrated green chemistry complex, the project celebrated the start-up of production with high added value using raw materials from vegetable renewable sources.

The plant is designed to convert vegetable oils into monomers and intermediates, the base products for downstream production of more complex bio-products.

In the coming months another two plants being built at the new Matrìca complex will come on-stream.

At these two plants, monomers and intermediates will be transformed into extensor oils for the tyre industry and into a raft of innovative products with high added value, such as bases for bio-lubricants, plasticizers for polymers and products for cosmetic formulations.

Representing a global investment of about €180 million (US$254.17 million), the three plants will produce a total capacity of bio-products of approximately 70 thousand tons per year.

Matrìca says its products are the fruit of integrating agriculture and industry, combining renewability, sustainability and biodegradability.

They provide for the formulation and production of bio-plastics, bio-lubricants, products for household care and personal and health care, plant protection, additives for the rubber and plastics industry, and food fragrances.