RIO GRANDE DO SUL, Brazil—Responding to the strong and fast-growing demand for renewably-sourced plastics, Brazilian petrochemical giant Braskem S.A. is planning to pour $61 million into expanding the capacity of its green ethylene production unit in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul.
Braskem's renewably-sourced green ethylene, derived from sugarcane ethanol, is used in the production of its I'm Green materials portfolio. The portfolio includes different grades of PE and a bio-based EVA that has found application in the automotive and footwear industries.
The capacity of the green ethylene unit, currently 200,000 metric tons per year, will be expanded to 260,000 metric tons per year as part of a project that will be rolled out in 2021 and concluded in the fourth quarter of 2022. The expansion underlines Braskem's commitment towards sustainable development, said global biopolymers leader Marco Jansen.
"The increase in biopolymer capacity and production reflects healthy growth in demand from society and our partners for sustainable products, which has increased significantly in recent years. Our business expansion aims to consolidate Braskem's leadership of the biopolymers market," he added.
Braskem invested an initial $290 million in building its renewably sourced ethylene unit in 2007. The company unveiled the world's first polyethylene produced from renewable resources on an industrial scale in 2010.
The present expansion will not only help to meet strong global demand for biopolymers, it will also promote the company's efforts towards reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 by reducing the company's CO2 emissions by 185,000 tons.
"Carbon neutralization is one of the most viable paths to minimize the impacts of climate change," Jansen said. "Increasing our production of plastic derived from sugarcane will bring significant gains both for us and our clients around the world in terms of sustainability."
Braskem will continue to serve its customers and operate at normal capacity during the execution of the project.