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LyondellBasell Produces Family of Bio-Based Polyolefins

LBI’s collaboration with Neste marks the first time bio-based PP and bio-based LPDE were produced simultaneously at commercial scale.


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Houston-based LyondellBasell Inc. (LBI) and Helsinki-based producer of renewable diesel Neste recently announced what is said to be the first parallel production of bio-based PP and bio-based LDPE at a commercial scale. The joint project used Neste’s renewable hydrocarbons derived from sustainable bio-based raw materials, such as waste vegetable oils and animal fats. (The announcement was unveiled just two weeks after LBI said that it would not pursue the acquisition of Braskem, known for its commercial ‘green’ PE and technologies for producing ‘green’ PP and PET.)

The project resulted in the successful production of several thousand metric tons of bio-based plastics which are approved for the production of food packaging and being marketed under Circulen and Circulen Plus, the new family of LyondellBasell circular economy product brands. LyondellBasell sold some of the renewable products produced in the trial to multiple customers, one of which is U.K.-based Cofresco, a company of the Melitta Group and with brands like Toppits and Albal, Europe’s leading supplier of branded products in the field of household film. Cofresco plans to use the Circulen Plus bio-based PE to create sustainable food packaging materials.

“LyondellBasell has an innovative spirit that spans decades, and an achievement like this showcases concrete actions we are taking in support of a circular economy… Through the use of renewable resources, we are contributing to the fight against climate change and helping our customers achieve their environmental targets,”said Richard Roudeix, LBI’s senior v.p. of olefins and polyolefins for Europe, Asia and international. Added Neste’s president and CEO Peter Vanacker. “This pioneering collaboration with LyondellBasell marks a major milestone in the commercialization of Neste’s renewable polymers and chemicals business focusing on developing renewable and circular solutions for forward-looking sustainable brands.”

This achievement combined Neste’s unique renewable feedstock and LBI’s technical capabilities. LBI’s cracker flexibility allowed it to introduce a new renewable feedstock at its Wesseling, Germany site, which was converted directly into bio-based PE and bio-based PP. An independent third party tested the polymer products using carbon tracers and confirmed they contained over 30% renewable content.