Cargill considers US corn processing plant to replace chemicals

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CHICAGO, June 8 (Reuters) – Cargill Inc said on Tuesday it would build a plant in Iowa to turn sugars in corn into chemicals that can be used to make spandex and biodegradable plastics, creating a new use for Culture.

The $ 300 million project, a joint venture with German company HELM, aims to meet growing demand from consumers and businesses looking for more environmentally friendly products.

Cargill and HELM will ferment the corn-based sugars to produce a 1,4-butanediol, or BDO, at the country’s first commercial-scale renewable facility for the product, according to a statement. It can replace chemicals made from fossil fuels like petroleum, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Cargill said.

The plant will be completed in 2024 at an existing Cargill corn processing complex in Eddyville, Iowa, according to the company. US corn supplies are tight due to strong sales in China, and corn futures prices are near eight-year highs.

The new facility will use about 30,000 bushels of corn per day, Jill Zullo, Cargill’s vice president of biointermediates and bioindustrials, said in an interview. This represents about 10% of the use of the corn processing operation in Eddyville, which includes ethanol, she said. (Reporting by Tom Polansek. Editing by Richard Chang.)

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