The original production facilities in Memphis, Tennessee USA were built by the US Government in 1943 and operated by Quaker Oats. Corn cobs and other biomass materials were collected from the surrounding farms and used as the feedstock to prepare furfural. Furfural was a key raw material used to for the rubber and nylon industries in support of the war effort.
Great Lakes Chemical continued to develop the furfural-based product line and built dedicated facilities to produce Polytetramethylene Glycol (or PTMEG, brand name PolyMEG®), a polymer of tetrahydrofuran used in polyurethane rubber and Spandex® fibers. In 1999, Great Lakes sold the facility assets to a private equity group which named the new company Penn Specialty Chemicals, Inc. During this period, the company began to focus on high-value intermediates used in agri, pharma, and other industrial applications. In 2008, the facility assets were sold to its present owner, the Belgium-based group, Minafin Sprl.
Over the next forty years, Quaker Oats owned and operated this facility and multiple locations in Nebraska, Florida, Texas and Belgium, expanding the product line to other furfural-derived products such as furan, furfuryl alcohol, and tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol. In 1983, Quaker Oats spun off the facility as QO Chemicals. Two years later, the facility was sold to Great Lakes Chemical.
Who We Are Now
In 2008, the majority of the assets of Penn Specialty Chemical, Inc., was purchased by the Minafin Group and Pennakem, LLC was established. The Minafin Group is a Belgium-based company with five brands industrially present in North America and Europe. The brands include Minakem, which focuses on the pharma market, with advanced intermediates, APIs, high potency APIs, and controlled substances incorporated in pharma products. Minasolve targets cosmetic ingredients. Minascent possesses skills in handling highly hazardous chemicals and specialized chemical reactions under a variety of demanding quality assurance programs. Pressure Chemical has a unique set of equipment making them an industry leader in high-pressure chemistry, niche polymers and scale-up services.
Pennakem continues to operate as an autonomous business unit with full service manufacturing, pilot facilities, R&D, and worldwide sales and marketing, all focusing on renewable chemistry while developing new and innovative products and processes for customers.