Brazilian technology touted in ethanol-to-PE operation

24 September 2010 22:34  [Source: ICIS news]

SAO PAULO (ICIS)--Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday said Braskem has combined the country’s natural resources with home-grown technology to build the world’s first large-scale ethanol-to-polyethylene (PE) operation.

Lula spoke at the inauguration of the reais (R) 500m ($291m, €218m) facility.

Lula started by saying that Brazil is the first to have large-scale production of certified “green” PE.

Brazil now shows to the world that ethanol can play an important role in sectors that were before totally dependent on oil,” Lula said in Portuguese.

The 200,000 tonne/year operation at Triunfo Petrochemical Complex, Rio Grande do Sul, will turn sugarcane-based ethanol into ethylene to produce PE, Braskem said.

Lula said Brazil learned to combine its natural resources with massive investments in research and technology.

“From Rio Grande do Sul, Braskem will show the world that ethanol can be such an efficient feedstock for the production of plastic and still be renewable,” Lula said.

Lula said he was glad to participate in the opening of an operation that used “Brazilian technology, Brazilian workers on Brazilian soil”.

The plant was operating at full capacity and would start supplying customers with material in October, Braskem said.

Lula said Brazil was open for partnerships with foreign investors regarding renewable resources.

Around 80% of the unit’s future production has been committed and most of the volume would be exported to Europe, the US and Asia, according to Braskem.

($1 = R1.72)
($1 = €0.75)

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By: Hellen Berger
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