Bio-Based 1,3-Propanediol (PDO)

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PDO (1)-2

CAS# 504-63-2

PDO is a valuable component for a variety of processes and products

In the chemical industry and manufacturing sphere, 1-3 propanediol, also called trimethylene glycol or 1-3 propylene glycol but more commonly known as PDO, is a valuable component for a variety of processes and products. At Gantrade, we advise customers on the many uses of PDO for multiple industrial applications.

Diols are a subset of molecules known for their usefulness in a multitude of chemical reactions, including the formation of polyesters and polyurethanes, and 1-3 propanediol is no exception. PDO’s high reactivity leads to its use as a primary diol, its use in chain extension reactions for the formation of polyurethanes, and as an intermediate in the formation of polyester polyols.

Traditionally, PDO has been derived from petrochemicals, such as propylene and ethylene glycol. This route makes use of the hydration of acrolein, a toxic petrochemical derivative of propylene, to produce PDO in large quantities. 

In recent years, technology has emerged to derive PDO from corn and other biological sources via sugar fermentation, allowing for a smaller ecological footprint and safer manufacturing. In tandem with bio-based succinic and sebacic acids, bio-based 1-3 propanediol can be used to produce 100 percent renewably sourced polyesters.

PDO is a colorless and odorless liquid with a large assortment of useful properties in various applications.



Industrial Uses of 1-3 Propanediol

In industrial spheres and in the pharmaceutical industry, PDO is used as a basis or as a solvent for advanced syntheses. PDO is an important building block for the formulation of multiple polyesters, including polytrimethylene terephthalate (PPT). 

PDO’s use as a solvent allows it to fill a niche that water and other solvents cannot, providing a different array of compounds that it can successfully dissolve. The capability of PDO to raise the freezing temperature of mixtures makes it a potent antifreeze, and when included in mixtures, it can be used industrially for a variety of purposes, such as in engine coolants.

PDO also is used in the printing industry for ink, toner, and colorant products. In the cosmetic industry, PDO works as a non-toxic and biodegradable humectant, meaning it retains moisture and is safe for human use. Thus, PDO is used in a variety of cosmetics and personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, and lotions for its moisturizing and cleaning properties.

Benefits of 1-3 Propanediol

The key benefit of 1-3 Propanediol is its flexibility – making it an important part of many industrial processes. It can be formulated for use in composites, adhesives, laminates, moldings, coatings, copolyesters, solvents, or aliphatic polyesters. 

For nearly 50 years, Gantrade has served as an experienced, respected, world-class supplier of chemicals, including 1-3 propanediol, or PDO for short. Gantrade strives to meet and exceed its customer’s requirements in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. Gantrade’s product specifications are designed to deliver our diols, including 1-3 propanediol, with high quality and consistency in all applications.


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