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ADM and LG Chem to Develop Biobased Acrylic Acid

Superabsorbent polymers can be used in products such as diapers

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Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) and LG Chem have announced a joint development agreement to create biobased acrylic acid, a foundational element required in the manufacture of superabsorbent polymers (SAP) used in a range of hygiene products, including diapers.

“The acrylic acid project is another effort from ADM to create new sustainable materials from renewable resources, and demonstrates our strong commitment to support customer demand through innovation,” says ADM senior vice president and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Todd Werpy. “By tackling this challenge with LG Chem, we can leverage the strengths and expertise of both companies to bring a cost-effective, sustainable solution to our customers.”

“As customers focus more and more on sustainable alternatives, ADM is looking to continually push the envelope and find new ways to diversify our product mix,” said Chris Cuddy, president, Carbohydrate Solutions for ADM. “We currently produce about 30 different products from a kernel of corn, and we’re eager to explore the possibilities provided through biobased acrylic acid.”

“This joint development agreement with ADM has enabled LG Chem to further expand our business portfolio with eco-friendly products that can achieve sustainable growth.” said Okdong Son, the President of LG Chem. "We are excited to drive research and development of sustainable materials based on bio resources, along with our advanced strengths in conventional petrochemicals business.”

Under the terms of this agreement, ADM and LG Chem, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of acrylic acid, will work jointly towards economically viable commercial production of a 100% biobased acrylic acid using ingredients from ADM corn processing. Although there is growing industry demand for products developed from renewable materials, acrylic acid is currently produced almost exclusively from petrochemicals. To support production, LG Chem plans to review the construction of a bio-SAP production plant in North America, and to explore additional bio plastic business opportunities.

Sustainable innovation is not new to ADM. In 2018, ADM and DuPont opened the world’s first production facility for biobased FDME. Using ingredients from ADM corn processing, FDME is a product that both extends product shelf life and reduces the amount of plastic needed in carbonated beverage packaging. In response to consumer demand for environmentally responsible products, many consumer packaged goods companies have committed to more sustainable packaging, including the use of biobased materials.

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