PT Blog

Over the last several years, we have reported on Braskem’s Green PE and also the company’s capability to produce Green PP, though commercial production has yet to surface. Interestingly, a collaboration started in 2016 by Finland’s Neste and the Netherlands’ IKEA, may result in the first commercial PP and PE, based on 20% renewable content.

The production of these bio-based plastics, slated for startup in a pilot plant this fall, will be based on Neste’s 100% renewable hydrocarbons. The collaboration led to Neste’s ability to turn waste and residue raw materials, such as cooking oil as well as sustainable vegetable oils into PP and PE.

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Over the last few years, we have all seen PLA bioplastic evolve beyond the important role it has been playing in packaging applications to increasingly more durable and structural parts in a variety of consumer goods and other applications. Perhaps one of the most exciting is what appears to be the world’s first biobased, circular car, successfully designed and built in the Netherlands by the Technical University (TU) of Eindhoven, earlier this year.

Reportedly, this is the first time that a car’s chassis and all its bodywork has been made from natural and biobased materials—no metal or traditional plastics were used for the structural parts of the car. The parts are made up of light and strong sandwich panels, based on natural flax fiber and Luminy PLA supplied by the Netherlands’ Total Corbion PLA (U.S. office in New York, N.Y.).

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Global plastic packaging and film industry giant Klöckner Pentaplast Group (kp) announced a new Positive Plastics Pledge, outlining a commitment to develop and manage its products with a focus on sustainability. The pledge includes a commitment where possible to increase to 100% kp’s usage of recyclable and sustainably sourced polymers by 2028.

“kp has been designing products for sustainability and recyclability since the beginning,” Lubna Edwards, Global Sustainability Director for kp, told Plastics Technology. “However, we realize our responsibilities go beyond what we directly control. The commitments within our Positive Plastics Pledge touch every part of the value chain: design and manufacturing processes, through consumer use, to post consumer collection and recycling. It’s a transformational approach that focuses on creating mutual benefit for society and the environment, as well as a sustainable future for plastics which are a valuable resource,”

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A recent paper in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials prepared by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)—Nanoparticle Manufacturing—Heterogeneity Through Processes to Products—is the culmination of a study initiated by a workshop organized by NIST that focused on the fundamental challenge of reducing or mitigating heterogeneity, the inadvertent variations in nanoparticle size, shape and other characteristics that occur during their manufacturing.

The authors point out that today’s engineered nanoparticles are integral components in everything from the quantum dot nanocrystals coloring the brilliant displays of state-of-the-art televisions and nanocomposites, to the miniscule bits of silver helping bandages protect against infection. However, commercial ventures that look to profit from these tiny building blocks face quality control issues that, if not addressed, can reduce efficiency, increase production costs and limit commercial impact of the products that incorporate them.

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As reported last month, LyondellBasell completed the acquisition of A. Schulman, forming the Advanced Polymer Solutions compounding business segment, which essentially doubled the size of the company’s previous platform. This month, I had the chance to speak with Jim Guilfoyle who is now heading the new business regarding its direction and growth opportunities.

Guilfoyle’s career has been with LyondellBasell and its predecessor companies, starting as a chemical engineer prior to managerial and technical positions. Before his new appointment as executive VP Advanced Polymer Solutions and Global Supply Chain, he served as senior VP for the company’s global supply chain and intermediates and derivatives.

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