Teijin Fibers Ltd., the core company of the Teijin Group’s polyester fibers business, announced today that it will begin in April 2012 the full-fledged production and marketing of new plant-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fiber as the world’s first commercially produced bio-derived PET fiber.
Named ECO CIRCLE™ PlantFiber, the new product, also available as a textile, will become Teijin Fibers’ core biomaterial for applications ranging from apparel, car seats and interiors to personal hygiene products. The company expects to sell 30,000 tons of ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber products in the initial fiscal year ending in March 2013, and 70,000 tons by the third year of business.
ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber is made roughly 30 percent from biofuels derived from biomass such as sugarcane. Conventional PET typically is made by polymerizing ethylene glycol (EG) and dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) or telephthalic acid (PTA), with EG accounting for roughly 30 percent. The EG contained in ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber is bio-derived rather than oil-derived, helping to conserve fossil resources and lower greenhouse gas emissions. ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber has the same characteristics and quality of oil-derived PET, making it suitable for use in many polyester products.
ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber also can be recycled, using Teijin Fibers’ ECO CIRCLE closed-loop polyester recycling system. Polyester is chemically decomposed at the molecular level by the system and then recycled as new DMT that offers purity and quality comparable to material derived directly from petroleum.