The world's first 'green polyester' plant is set to be built in China as part of a US$500m investment that will convert wheat and corn into a raw material used in the production of fibres.

The biomass to glycols bio-refinery is being built by polyester specialist M&G Chemicals in the Fuyang agricultural region of China's Anhui Province, and is due to come on stream in mid 2015.

Itwill be capable of converting 1m metric tons of biomass into mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), which is used in the production of synthetic polyester fibres and as one of two main components in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for packaging.

Joint-venture partner Guozhen will provide the straw biomass and use the resulting lignin by-product from the bio-refinery to feed a power plant being built at the same site. Enzymes will be supplied by Danish specialist Novozymes.

"This is the first act of a green revolution that M&G Chemicals is bringing to the polyester chain to provide environmental sustainability to both PET beverage packaging and polyester textiles," said Marco Ghisolfi, CEO of M&G Chemicals.