Braskem, Brazil's leading petrochemical company has inked a long-term agreement with Japan's Sojitz Corporation to supply 120,000 ton volume of ETBE (Ethyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether), an automotive bioadditive for three years. Sojitz will start to sell ETBE in 2009 and its goal is to increase these volumes to reach both Japanese and European markets.
ETBE - produced by mixing ethanol (43%) and isobutene (57%) - is increasingly used worldwide replacing MTBE (Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether), an elevating index of original mix in gasoline, due to its more favorable environmental characteristics, and suitable to current standard requirements, also impacting on CO2 reduction. In Japan, introducing biomass fuels was stimulated due to Protocol of Kyoto signing. Starting in 2010, the Japanese oil industry plans to put 840,000 m³ ETBE a year. In Europe almost 4,000,000 tons of ETBE has been commercialized every year.
Currently, Braskem produces 160,000 tpa of ETBE at Polo do Triunfo, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. In 2008, the company invested approx. US$41.85 mln (R$100 mln) on Camaçari unit, in the state of Bahia, to convert MTBE production into EBTE. When this project is concluded, during H2 2009, Braskem will be able to produce 330,000 tpa of ETBE. The USA and Europe were the main destinations for Braskem's MTBE products. ETBE will have significant environmental advantages, once it uses sugarcane ethanol in its preparation. With this renewable natural resource, there is a 76% reduction in CO2 emission in the atmosphere from sugarcane plantation until additive production.