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5/10/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

Focus on Renewable Chemicals Expands for Braskem

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After 'green PE', Braskem's next major use of a renewable chemical is 'green' MEG—a key component of PET resins.

“We are seeing more and more people, companies and government rise to the environmental challenge. Over the last few years, as climate change has grown in the public’s consciousness, we’ve seen a rise in business offering citizens ways to reduce their environmental impact. The power of the consumer’s wallet can drive change, through electric vehicles, solar energy, greener products and more responsible brands,” says Gustavo Sergi, director of Braskem’s Renewable Chemicals business, responding to my inquiry on key trends they are addressing and emphasizing at BOOTH S22001.

Braskem is reinforcing its position in the U.S., within its renewable chemicals focus, by presenting some of its latest partnerships and consolidation of its business. Braskem’s Renewable Chemicals segment is, in fact, expanding its operation in Boston. In direct support of this expanded vision, the company will be investing in the launch of a new Boston-based Renewable Chemistry Research Center focused on the development of new chemicals and materials derived from sustainable feedstocks that can serve as replacements for their current petroleum-based counterparts.

Within the last couple of years, Braskem has entered into technological cooperation agreements with U.S. renewable products company Amyris and French tire maker Michelin to develop technology for the production of biobased isoprene, a chemical feedstock used by the tire industry, and other rubber products. The technology is developed from plant sugars, such as those found in sugarcane and cellulosic feedstocks.

Braskem also continues to make progress on the joint development of a new technology for the production of biobased butadiene in partnership with U.S. biotechnology company Genomatica. That agreement aims to supply green butadiene primarily to the synthetic rubber market. The current naphtha-based butadiene is also a key raw material for some key volume plastics, including ABS.

Just last year, Braskem announced the launch of a demonstration plant to develop a pioneering route to produce monoethylene glycol (MEG) from sugar. This, through a partnership with Haldor Topsoe, of Denmark, where the demo plant is being situated. Notes Sergi, “MEG is a key component of PET resins—the main man-made raw material used by the textile and packaging industries that is also widely used to make clear plastic bottles. The partnership is developing new technology which will allow Braskem to push renewable chemistry to a whole new level. After I’m Green PE (bio-PE), this is another major step forward in Braskem’s vision of using renewable chemicals as a carbon capture tool.”

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