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First linear PE from 100 per cent renewable raw materials

Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem claims to have produced the world’s first certified linear polyethylene made from 100 per cent renewable raw materials. It was obtained through the development of technology using biobutene which will enable Braskem to expand its ‘green polyethylene’ offering.

This development follows Braskem’s 2007 launch of the first “green resin”, a HDPE geared towards markets that demand products with superior performance and quality, including food packaging, cosmetic and personal hygiene.

“This achievement reinforces our commitment to promote sustainable development, in tune with society’s aspirations on behalf of initiatives that firmly contribute towards carbon dioxide gas emission reductions in the atmosphere,” says José Carlos Grubisich, president of Braskem. “

International laboratory Beta Analytic certified that the new biopolymer is made from 100 per cent renewable raw material and its patent has already been deposited by the company.

This development represents an important technological leap for Braskem, as the production of green linear PE demands the use of a second monomer from a 100 per cent renewable source. Apart from sugarcane ethylene, a technology it claims to dominate already, the researchers needed to elaborate a new technological route that would allow them to obtain butene high yield from a renewable raw material.

The main market for this linear PE is flexible packaging. Still being produced at a laboratory scale, production of the green linear PE will allow the product to be tested by selected clients interested in its performance and environmental advantages. Braskem is to set up an industrial unit to produce green ethylene that will supply the existing PE units in their installations. Operations are projected to start in 2010, with the capacity to product 200,000t/year.


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