The Dow Chemical Co. and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. have inked a new joint venture to build ethanol and biopolymers plants in Brazil, as per Platts. Under the agreement, Mitsui will become a 50% equity interest partner in Dow's sugar cane operation in Santa Vitória, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The venture includes production of sugar cane-derived ethanol of use as a renewable feedstock source, bringing new, biomass-based feedstocks to Dow. Greg Baldwin, a Dow spokesman, said the move develops more renewable feedstocks for the Midland-based chemical company, while reducing the carbon footprint. "We are taking sugar cane straight from the field and converting it to ethanol," said Baldwin. "The vision of this announcement is that these biopolymers then go to grow our business in high-value speciality markets." The partnership represents the world's largest biopolymers play and is Dow's largest investment in Brazil. Dow has operated in Brazil for more than 50 years. Construction on a new sugar cane-to-ethanol production facility in Santa Vitória is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of this year. Once fully operational, bioploymers produced at the facility, which are used in plastics in packaging and hygeine and medical markets will be more environmentally-friendly. Financial details are not being disclosed by Dow. The agreement is still awaiting regulatory approvals. Andrew Liveris, Dow's chairman and chief executive officer, said the partnership is a landmark move for Dow and underscores the chemical-giant's commitment to invest for growth in "high-value, innovation-rich sectors through strategic partnerships." "It also combines the strengths of two global companies, creating the unique combination of world-leading technology and renewable feedstocks to meet needs in an important, rapidly growing region of the world."