Technological watch

Braskem invests $87M to expand biopolymer production

Braskem has spent almost $90 million to add more than 130 million pounds of bio-based plastic feedstock in Triunfo, Brazil.

The $87 million project was completed in June, officials with Braskem in São Paulo said in a news release. The plant now has annual production capacity of about 570 million pounds of bio-based ethylene, which is used to make bio-based polyethylene resins. The increase represents a gain of 30 percent vs. the site's previous capacity.

Officials said the project "aims to meet growing global demand for sustainable products." Braskem's bio-based ethylene is made from sustainably sourced, sugarcane-based ethanol which removes CO2 from the atmosphere and stores it in products for daily use.

Officials added that the expansion "is an important advance" in Braskem's ambition to increase its production of biopolymers to more than two billion pounds by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The expansion "reinforces Braskem's commitment to sustainable development … and proves the success of the strategy we engaged in 13 years ago, when we launched the world's first bio-based polyethylene production at industrial scale with proprietary technology," Europe/Asia olefins/polyolefins vice president Walmir Soller said.

"We want to meet society's and customers' demand for products with less impact on the environment," he added.

Each ton of plastic resin made from renewable feedstock represents the removal of 3 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, officials said. Since the plant opened in 2010, more than 2.5 billion pounds of I'm Green-brand bio-based PE has been produced. The recent capacity increase will remove more than 400 million pounds tons of CO2 equivalent per year.

Braskem's portfolio of bio-based resins is exported to more than 30 countries and is used in products from more than 250 major brands, such as Johnson & Johnson and Tetra Pak. These bio-based resins are used to make packaging, bags, toys, housewares, industrial wires and cables, packaging films, reusable water bottles and other products.

Braskem, which has a U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia, is Brazil's largest petrochemicals firm and ranks as one of North America's largest producers of polypropylene resin. The firm employs almost 9,000 and posted sales of almost $19 billion in 2022.

Publication date: 26/07/2023

Plastics News - automotive


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.