Kraton upgrades towers supporting sustainable pine chemical output
Photo courtesy of Kraton Corporation

Kraton upgrades towers supporting sustainable pine chemical output

Specialty chemicals manufacturer Kraton Corporation has completed a USD35 million project to enhance infrastructure supporting crude tall oil (CTO) refining at its Panama City, Florida, U.S.A., production plant.

Two upgraded distillation towers bolster efficiency, quality and safety within Kraton’s biobased solutions operations, the company said. Output serves markets including lubricants, coatings, tires and construction materials.

Crude tall oil is a complex mixture of fatty acids, resin acids, and other unsaponifiable materials. The purpose of a CTO biorefinery tower is to further refine and separate crude tall oil into its valuable components, which can then be used in a variety of industrial applications, including fatty acids.

“Our upgraded towers will ensure Kraton continues delivering the highest quality and sustainable biobased products and solutions our customers rely on,” said Edgar Baena, Kraton VP of Global Operations.

As the world’s largest pine chemicals producer, Kraton converts renewable raw materials into specialty polymers and performance chemicals. The timely plant improvement supports operational goals while meeting evolving expectations around bio-derived materials.

The investment is Panama City’s largest single capital project in decades, underscoring Kraton’s commitment to optimising its pine chemical production. Upkeep ensures reliable customer supply amid growing demand for sustainable products, the firm said.

WestRock Company ceased operations at its Panama City paper mill, which produced containerboard, primarily heavyweight kraft, and fluff pulp, with a combined annual capacity of 645,000 tons, in 2022. This closure has left a significant impact on the local community and workforce.

WestRock, as a major paper and packaging company, produces CTO as a byproduct of its kraft pulping process.