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CJ CheilJedang and Arkema announce a project to build the world’s first bio-methionine plant and a thiochemicals platform in Asia


CJ CheilJedang (CJ Group) and Arkema have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding to build a bio-methionine and thiochemicals platform in South East Asia (Malaysia or Thailand). This project entails the construction of the world’s first world-scale methyl mercaptan integrated bio-methionine plant, which will enable CJ to respond to strong demand for methionine, a sulfur amino acid widely used for animal feed in Asia, and Arkema to better serve its Asian customers from a new industrial platform. The project represents overall investments of $400m split equally between both partners.

The project would pool together two sets of complementary expertise. CheilJedang has developed a new innovative and highly competitive industrial bio-fermentation process to produce L-methionine from plant-based raw materials. L-methionine is digested more efficiently by animals than DL-methionine currently on the market. Meanwhile Arkema has extensive know-how and experience in the production process of methyl mercaptan, a sulfur-based intermediate that is key to the manufacture of methionine.

The 80,000 ton bio-methionine production plant, which would be unique in the world, and the thiochemicals platform would come on stream at the end of 2013.

“We are looking forward to this future collaboration with CheilJedang, which has extensive expertise in bio-fermentation processes. This joint venture will enable us to establish our first thiochemicals industrial facility in Asia in the very near future, where we will manufacture other high added value thiochemicals in addition to methyl mercaptan, We will then have over 50,000 tonnes of new capacities for DMDS and mercaptans, primarily for the gas and petrochemicals markets", stated Philippe Chartres, Managing Director of Arkema’s Thiochemicals Business Unit.

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