Brazilian chemical company Braskem has announced a research partnership with Novozymes to develop large-scale polypropylene production from sugarcane. The sugar-based propylene production will use Novozyme's fermentation technology, with the development expected to run for at least 5 years.
Polypropylene is the second most widely used thermoplastic with a global consumption in 2008 of 44 million metric tons. The market is estimated to be US$66 bln, with an annual growth rate of 4%.
"Braskem was the first company in the world to produce a 100% certified green polypropylene on an experimental basis. The partnership with Novozymes will further boost Braskem's technology development and be a key step in the company's path to consolidate its worldwide leadership in green polymers, all leveraged by Brazil's competitive advantages within renewable resources," says Bernardo Gradin, CEO of Braskem.
Both companies have ongoing interests in a bio-based economy: Braskem is currently building a 200,000 tpa green polyethylene plant in Brazil with ethanol from sugarcane as the raw material. Novozymes is producing enzymes to turn agricultural waste into advanced biofuels and has partnered to convert renewable raw materials into acrylic acid.