Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem recently announced the production of the first certified polyethylene based on ethanol from sugar cane, using competitive technology developed at the company's Technology and Innovation Center. The certification, made by Beta Analytic labs, confirms that the product contains 100% renewable raw material.
Braskem's high-density polyethylene, one of the most widely used resins in flexible packaging, is the result of a US$5 million R&D project. Part of this investment was used to set up a pilot unit for the production of ethylene -- on which polyethylene is based -- from renewable raw materials. This unit is now producing enough quantities for the commercial development of the product. Target clients will now receive the green polyethylene to confirm that it meets the quality standards needed to compete on the international market.
The project is now entering a detailed technical and commercial phase, while the start-up of production of the green polyethylene on an industrial scale is foreseen for the end of 2009. The new unit will have the most modern technology and competitive scale and have an annual productive capacity of up to 200,000 tons. The location of the unit and its industrial model will be decided at a later date.
Plastics produced from ethanol will be used to supply the main international markets which require products with superior performance and quality, particularly the automobile, food packaging, cosmetics and personal care products industries. As these resins have the same properties and performance of non-renewable similar ones, the manufactured plastics industry should benefit from this important development without needing to make investments in new industrial equipment.
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