Braskem starts green ethylene plant

image_thumb[1]Braskem inaugurated the world’s largest plant to produce ethylene-from-ethanol in Triunfo (Rio Greande do Sul, Brazil), on September 24th. With a production capacity of 200,000 tons per year, the plant is equipped with technology developed by Braskem, requiring investments worth US$ 278 million.


With the new plant, Braskem establishes itself as a global leader in biopolymers. For each ton of polyethylene produced, 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide is captured from the atmosphere.
“Braskem’s green plastics are made from CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere through sugarcane photosynthesis. It is also the most competitive of all plastics made from renewable sources. And this has been widely acknowledged by the market, which recorded demand three times greater than the plant’s capacity,” says Bernardo Gradin, the company’s CEO .

The construction of the green ethylene plant was completed in 16 months, and the ethylene specification took place 12 hours after the plant’s start-up, on September 3, and green polyethylene production began a week later. The polymerization process, which converts ethylene into resin, is carried out in Braskem’s existing plants in the Triunfo Complex. The final product has the same properties and characteristics as conventional polyethylene, enabling clients to process it without the need for any adjustments in their machinery.

Over the past year, Braskem has established several partnerships to supply green polyethylene to domestic and international clients, including Tetra Pak, Toyota Tsusho, Shiseido, Natura, Acinplas, Johnson&Johnson, Procter&Gamble and Petropack. The most common applications of plastics from renewable sources are personal care and cleaning products, food packaging, toys and home appliances.

Further research

The green polyethylene project was made possible thanks to the highly developed Brazilian sugar cane ethanol industry. The new plant will consume around 462 million liters of ethanol per year, which will initially come from the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Paraná (South and Southeast of Brazil).

Pursuing its goal of becoming the world leader in sustainable chemistry, Braskem has stepped up its research into the development of other polymers, especially green polypropylene. As a result of the increased interest in the market, the company is also considering to set up a new green ethylene unit.

Braskem is the leading thermoplastic resin producer in the Americas, with 31 industrial plants distributed across Brazil and the United States, and a global annual production of more than 15 million tons of thermoplastic resins and other petrochemical products.