Braskem initiates work on world's first sugarcane-based plastic project

Brazil's leading petrochemical maker Braskem recently initiated construction works for the Green Polyethylene Project in the Petrochemical Center of Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul. The unit will be the world's first to use sugarcane ethanol in the commercial scale production of ethlylene and polyethylene from 100% renewable source. The project worth R$ 500 mln (approx. US$229 mln) investment involves construction of an ethlylene plant - raw material for polyethylene - from ethanol. The unit will have capacity to produce 200,000 tpa of ethlylene, which will be converted into equivalent volume of polyethylene in industrial units already existing in the center of Triunfo itself. The commissioning of the new bioplastics plant is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2010 and start of the commercial operation for the beginning of 2011. The Green PE project will use up about 470 mln liters of ethanol/annum, thereby develop a ethanol chain of production in the state. In this sustainability-driven project, the green plastic will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits throughout its lifecycle, from the planting of sugarcane to post-consumption recycling, the company says. More importantly, the company indicates that the green polyethylene will have identical properties and characteristics to that of petroleum-based plastic with applications in diverse markets. The company has partnered with renowned national and international customers, mainly from Europe, United States and Japan, interested in reinforcing the association of their brands with the concept of sustainability. The recent agreements include ones with Toyota Tsusho, trading company of the Toyota group, and Shiseido, renowned manufacturer of cosmetics for the high-standard segment. The potential demand already identified for Green PE is about 600,000 tpa, three times the capacity of the new plant.
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