The ribbon was cut at the first of the Matrìca green chemistry plants at Port Torres (I). Conceived back into 2011 with the objective of converting the petrochemical plant at Porto Torres into one of the most innovative integrated green chemistry complexes in the world, the project celebrates the start-up in production of the first unit converting vegetable oils into monomers and intermediates. Representing a global investment of about 180 million Euro, the three plants are planned to produce a total capacity of bio-products of approximately 70 thousand tons per year. Matrica Website
In the coming months another two plants being built at the new Matrìca complex will come on-stream; at these two plants, monomers and intermediates will be transformed into extensor oils for the tire industry and into a raft of innovative products with high added value, such as bases for bio-lubricants, plasticizers for polymers and products for cosmetic formulations.
The Matrìca products are the fruit of an innovative integration between agriculture and industry, combining renewability, sustainability and biodegradability. They provide the highest performance levels required for the formulation and production of bio-plastics, bio-lubricants, products for household care, cosmetics and health care, additives for the rubber and plastics industry, as well as food fragrances.
Daniele Ferrari, CEO of Versalis and Chairman of Matricia, and Catia Bastioli, Managing Director of Novamont and of Matrìca joined their voices in saying: ‘We have completed a cutting-edge project in record time, driven forward by a strong commitment to research and design of industrial facilities representing excellence in the global chemical industry. Matrìca will make an important contribution to innovation, thereby enhancing competitiveness of the Italian chemical industry, creating a solid technological platform capable of catalyzing new projects in a context of long-term sustainability and integration with the local community’.
‘For some years, Versalis has been following a route that today brings it to the forefront of plant based chemistry . Our business model — added Daniele Ferrari — is all about leveraging our internal technological and engineering capabilities and product synergies with traditional chemistry, networking with international partners of excellence, so that chemistry based on renewable sources can fully develop its potential for innovation, contributing to rejuvenate and grow an industry that is strategic to our country.’
‘The first Matrìca plant that we are inaugurating today, brought about by the strategic partnership between Novamont and Versalis, uses a proprietary technology radically different from all other existing technologies: it does not use ozone in the vegetable oil oxidative scission reaction and allows us to produce intermediates known as azelaic acid and pelargonic acid, as well as new proprietary products, through a safe process with low environmental impact. This result represents a key step in a process that began more than 20 years ago with a dedicated group of obstinate research engineers working in the bioplastics sector and which is leading to the creation, here in Sardinia, of the first third-generation integrated biorefinery “, said Catia Bastioli.
She added that other petrochemical sites in Italy will be converted as per the Porto Torres model which really stands for a flagship conversion project for the Italian legacy chemical industry. It is indeed an amazing example of a joint cooperation between an historical petrochemicals major, Polimeri Europa renamed Versalis, and an offspring of former Montedison R&D, Novamont.
Novamont is an industrial company whose roots lie in the Montedison School of Materials Science. It was set up in 1989 with the ambition supported by a group of research fellows to integrate chemistry, agriculture and the environment. Ever since, Novamont has encouraged a new model of sustainable development and the transition from a product-based economy to a system-based economy and from a dissipative to a conservative approach to resources, through the use of renewable feedstock for the production of bioplastics for specific applications.