Braskem's board of directors recently approved the Green Polyethylene Project, which will produce ethylene and polyethylene from sugarcane-based ethanol. An investment of 500 million reals ($211 million) has been allotted for the project, located at the Southern Petrochemical Complex in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Sugar in the form of sucrose is extracted from the sugarcane and fermented to produce ethanol. This is dehydrogenated to ethylene, which is subsequently polymerized to polyethylene. The challenge is achieving the level of purity required.
The facility will have the capacity to produce 200,000 tpa of ethylene and polyethylene. The project won't be integrated with an ethanol plant as Braskem plans to purchase approximately 400,000 tpa of ethanol.