GOOSE CREEK, S.C.—Mainstream Pine Products L.L.C. is planning a $90 million biorefinery to help create derivatives that are then used to help make synthetic rubber.
The biorefinery will take a byproduct of the paper making industry—crude tall oil—to make "a vital component of many chemicals" used in the tire and rubber additives, adhesives, lubricants, coatings, paints, inks and diesel processing segments, the company said.
Crude tall oil is a byproduct of pine trees harvested and processed to make paper, and the new facility will have a capacity to process 110,000 tons of the material each year on a 10-acre site. Work is expected to begin this year on the project, and production is slated to start in 2023.
"It is important for us to develop our line of renewable products in a plant that meets the most rigorous environmental standards," CEO Rob Helwick said in a statement. "All things being equal, we believe the general population prefers renewable products, and the biorefinery acknowledges the world's increasing demand for more sustainable goods."
The new facility will be in what Mainstream describes as a 1,750-acre advanced manufacturing part at Charleston International Manufacturing Center near Goose Creek in Berkeley County, S.C. The location has both rail and deep-water barge access.
"We conducted deep-dive market studies and reviewed pine chemical industry cycles," Helwick said. "The increasing demand for renewable, non-food source materials led us to a nationwide search for the best location in which to expand our operations."
Crude tall oil is a byproduct of the kraft process of making paper from pine trees. The oil is then further refined into different fractions, including tall oil rosins. This material, which has many uses, is an emulsifier in rubber production.
The name tall oil comes from the Swedish word pine oil—"tallolja."
The industrial park already is home to a plant where specialty chemicals company Lanxess makes rubber chemicals, according to a CIMC brochure.