LG Chem and GS Caltex advance commercial production of eco-friendly hydroxypropionic acid bio-material; companies announce completion of testing plant, aim to produce prototype in Q1 2024

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October 13, 2023 (press release) –

LG Chem and GS Caltex Accelerate the Commercialization of the World's First 3HP Eco-friendly Bio Material

■ On the 12th, entered MOU for cooperating in joint project for the eco-friendly bio material 3HP (hydroxypropionic acid)

□ The testing plant has been successfully completed at the GS Caltex Yeosu Plant, with an aspirational target set to produce a prototype in the first quarter of 2024.

■ Chief Executive Officer Hak Cheol Shin,
□ “We are dedicated to perpetuating the advancement of eco-friendly technologies that substantively contribute to achieving the 2050 Net Zero. This will be realized by intensifying the partnership between our two companies, fostering a sustainable future in the white bio sector.”

LG Chem and GS Caltex forge ahead in accelerating eco-friendly bio materials business.

On the 12th, LG Chem and GS Caltex signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further their collaborative endeavors on a joint project focusing on 3HP (3-Hydroxypropionic acid), an essential raw material for eco-friendly biodegradable plastics. The signing ceremony took place at the LG Chem Magok R&D Campus, attended by LG Chem CEO Hak Cheol Shin, GS Caltex CEO Heo Seo-hong, and R&D teams from both companies.

This MOU follows a 2021 Joint Development Agreement (JDA) between the two entities, culminating in the construction of a 3HP testing plant at the GS Caltex Yeosu Plant in July of the same year. The recently completed plant sets the stage for prototype production, slated to begin in the first quarter of 2024.

Produced through the microbial fermentation of plant-derived materials, 3HP is highlighted as an eco-friendly substance. The plastics derived from 3HP showcase exemplary biodegradability and flexibility, positioning them as viable replacements for various disposable materials. Furthermore, 3HP can be transformed into bio-acrylic acid, positioning it as a next-generation platform chemical with applications in a range of materials, including super absorbent polymers (SAP) utilized in diapers, as well as paints, adhesives, coating materials, and carbon fiber.

While there have been global attempts to develop 3HP-related technologies, none have been commercialized to date. Therefore, the forthcoming production of the companies' prototype is anticipated to represent the world's first commercialization of 3HP.

The cooperation between LG Chem and GS Caltex is rendered possible by synergizing LG Chem’s 3HP fermentation platform technologies with GS Caltex's refining technology and process scale-up* capabilities—spanning lab-bench-pilot-demo (testing plant) to commercialization.
*Scale-up: Lab-bench-pilot-demo (testing plant)-commercialization

With the MOU, both companies have agreed to jointly evaluate the 3HP project model and overall businesses, intending to engage in comprehensive discussions encompassing a broad spectrum of cooperation areas, such as exploring the potential establishment of a joint venture and examining biodegradable material projects, considering the varied conditions of the bioplastic market.

LG Chem CEO, Hak Cheol Shin, commented, "We will persist in leading eco-friendly technologies, enhancing our commitment to achieving a 2050 Net Zero by fortifying our partnership for a sustainable future in the white bio sector."

GS Caltex CEO, Heo Se-hong, remarked, "Building upon our cooperation in developing eco-friendly materials, we aim not only to strengthen ESG capacities by contributing to a circular economy and reducing carbon emissions but also to forge economic value through the commercialization of high value-added products."

LG Chem, holding the world’s preeminent proprietary 3HP fermenting technologies, successfully developed PLH (Poly Lactate 3-Hydroxypropionate) in October of 2020, a new biodegradable material with mechanical properties equating to synthetic resins.

Moreover, the company is focused on realizing its decarbonization strategy across its supply chain, with initiatives such as converting to 100% renewable energy, aiming to achieve a 2050 Net Zero, implementing LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), managing resource procurement policies responsibly, and pioneering technological development in carbon dioxide conversion.


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Dan Rivard
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