LG Chem and GS CALTEX Announce the Establishment of a 3-Hydroxypropionic Acid Pilot Plant and Sign a Memorandum of Understanding on BDO Technology

Latest: After announcing their joint development agreement last year, LG Chem and GS Caltex are building a pilot plant to develop a white bio-ecosystem and commercialize bio-feedstocks.

Hak Cheol Shin, CEO of LG Chem, Se-hong Heo, CEO of GS Caltex, Ki Myung, Mayor of Yeosu
Cheong, along with R&D personnel from both companies, attended GS
Groundbreaking ceremony for Caltex Yeosu factory. The upcoming pilot plant will produce prototypes of 3-HP (3-hydroxypropionic acid), a key material for eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable plastics.

3-HP is a biomaterial produced through an eco-friendly fermentation process and is used as a base material for acrylic acid, acrylonitrile, and biodegradable materials. From personal hygiene products to lightweight materials for electric vehicles, 3-HP is considered highly applicable and scalable. Last November, the two companies signed a joint development agreement to develop the 3-HP’s mass production technology and production prototypes.

By 2023, the two companies plan to
Caltex’s Yeosu plant builds a 3-HP pilot plant and produces prototypes. After that, the two companies will accelerate their entry into the market for biodegradable materials and various bioplastics through commercialization.

The significance of building the pilot plant is that LG Chem’s fermentation source technology and GS
Caltex’s separation and purification process expansion technology will create synergies in launching a high value-added eco-friendly biochemical business. There have been attempts to develop 3-HP technology around the world, but there has been no commercialization.

In addition to 3-HP, LG Chem and GS
Caltex has signed a memorandum of understanding to develop 1,4-butanediol (BDO) technology, which is used as an environmentally friendly feedstock for the production of biodegradable materials and polyurethanes. Through this agreement, the two companies will collaborate across the entire white biosphere and will have active discussions on measures to achieve a sustainable bio-ecosystem.

In addition, Yeosu City, LG Chem and GS
CALTEX signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding to develop Korea’s white bio-industry to achieve carbon neutrality and the dynamism of a circular economy. Through this agreement, the city of Lishui has committed to provide full administrative support for the demonstration project, and the two companies have committed to prioritising Lishui as the location for the construction of the new plant in future commercialization efforts.

Meanwhile, LG Chem has exclusive ownership of the world’s best 3-HP fermentation technology. In October 2020, the company successfully developed PLH (Poly Lactate
3-Hydroxypropionate), the world’s first new biodegradable material capable of achieving mechanical properties comparable to synthetic resins.

In July 2019, LG Chem successfully commercialized the environmentally friendly PCR white ABS for the first time in the world. The company plans to commercialize PBAT (polybutylene terephthalate) and PLA (polylactic acid) by 2024 and 2025, respectively.

In addition, LG Chem plans to implement a decarbonization strategy in its overall supply chain through efforts such as 100% renewable energy conversion, life cycle assessment (LCA) performance, responsible resource procurement policy management, and development of CO2 conversion technologies, aiming to In achieving “Net Zero Emissions by 2050”.