a division of NEPIC

Chemicals / Meterials

New, lower carbon, feedstock is vital for the long term success of the Process Industries both in the UK and in global areas experiencing difficulties with traditional petrochemical derived feedstock. NEPIC together with a number of manufacturing units across the Tees Valley have commenced work to outline the position of the Chemical Industry in the Tees Valley in respect of its current dependence on fossil based feedstocks, and what potential opportunities exist in transferring some of this fossil dependence to renewable sources (see industry reports; North East of England Business Opportunities from Biomass and Waste Materials).

Some of the critical issues identified include the cost of energy, efficiency of production, competitive and sustainable feedstocks and the impact of carbon (taxation). The North East region has a number of companies interested in novel/renewable raw material feedstocks and as such, there are opportunities for collaborative development. A growing global population will demand more chemicals to meet its needs. Such demand needs to be performed both environmentally and economically in order to survive in the long term.

There are a number of current examples of the ‘greening up’ of industry - transport (renewable fuels), chemicals and materials in the construction industry (lower energy buildings), specialities/cosmetics from surfactants via renewable carbohydrates, production of polyols to polyurethane foams. A further example is that within polymer production and use of plastics for food and drinks packaging. During June 2015 at World Expo Milan, Coca Cola unveiled the world’s first PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottle made entirely from plant materials.

Plaxica is a technology and licensing company focused on the production of next generation biopolymers and platform chemicals from renewable resources. Plaxica’s polymers are a range of polylactic acid (PLA) based materials and the technology uses sustainable feedstock’s and a more energy efficient production process to produce second generation PLA polymers that are expected to match or exceed the properties and application reach of currently available commodity polymers.  The production from sustainable resources, such as sugarcane, cereals and cellulose (e.g. straw, wood), together with the use, recycling and disposal of these polymers, will have a lower environmental footprint than conventional oil-based plastics and fibres, without compromising performance.

Potential production of syngas from renewable sources or via unconventional gas with CCS would be a key step forward for the Tees Valley process industry with potential conversions to range of chemical feedstocks and intermediates including Hydrogen and Ammonia.


North East Bioresources & Renewables, c/o NEPIC, Room H224, Wilton Centre, Wilton, Redcar, TS10 4RF | T +44 (0) 1642 442 560