South Korean chemical and life sciences company SK Chemicals has announced it has started the mass production and supply of eco-friendly biopolyol (polyoxytrimethylene ether glycol or PO3G).

The company has built a mass production system to produce several thousand tonnes of the ECOTRION material, SK Chemicals said in the 9 May statement.

A type of alcohol, polyol is a raw material used to manufacture spandex, polyurethane (artificial leather, foam and other products) and urethane elastomer.

ECOTRION is made from 100% plant-based raw materials and is designed to replace petrochemical-based polyols.

The product, which has received eco-friendly certification from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Belgian accredited inspection and certification organisation VINCOTTE, is softer than existing materials when applied to textiles and artificial leather and improves elasticity and abrasion resistance, according to the company.

Life-cycle assessment (LCA) of ECOTRION had shown that its use led to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) compared to existing petrochemical-based polyol production processes, the company said.

SK Chemicals said it was accelerating its entry into markets such as artificial leather, plimsolls, fashion, and furniture by promoting the ECOTRION product.

“We plan to further strengthen the green business system based on ESG management with the eco-friendly material business and consider additional expansion in response to increasing market demand,” Jung Jae-jun, head of SK Chemicals’ new business development department, said.

Working in a collaboration with leading car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company and South Korean design and technology company LX Hausys, an eco-friendly artificial leather had been developed using ECOTRION for use in car interiors, SK Chemicals said.