Evonik boosts European bio-based polymer output

German speciality chemicals firm Evonik has announced that it is producing bio-based ?-amino lauric acid at a pilot-scale plant in Slovakia. The material can be used to make polyamide 12 as an alternative to petroleum-derived laurin lactam.

The biotechnological manufacturing process starts from palm kernel oil, which contains large amounts of lauric acid. Evonik is already using palm kernel oil as a feedstock for other products.

The move tallies with a recent report from the Nova Institute in Germany, which said that Europe has the strongest demand for bio-based polymers worldwide, but most of the production is based in Asia and the US.