Celtic Renewables will produce significant quanities of Acetone. The scale of the acetone production market is huge and growing (For example, in 2007 Chinese demand was reported as 800,000 tonnes). It is a very widely used chemical, both as a chemical feedstock and also as a solvent. About half of world production is used for the production of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and thence acrylic plastics such as Perspex. It is also the starting point for other plastics such as epoxy resins and polycarbonates.
The UK depends on imports of acetone, almost entirely from the EU and particular Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, and in 2008 164,000 tonnes were imported at a cost of almost £100m (c.£610/t). Acetone is primarily traded as a commodity chemical, with the price per tonne fluctuates in line with crude oil prices.
The use of acetone as a raw material for the plastic industry opens the possibility of using it as a source of bioplastics. This could be of significant interest to some consumers and retailers as the carbon footprint of a plastic bottle made from renewably produced acetone will be negligible compared to one made from petrochemicals. Celtic Renewables Ltd will be creating a preferred buyers market for acetone as a commodity which is produced from renewable sources.