APLA '11: Renewable PE is net carbon sink - US Dow director

07 November 2011 18:10  [Source: ICIS news]

BUENOS AIRES (ICIS)--Renewable polyethylene (PE) can consume more carbon than it releases into the atmosphere, a director for US-based Dow Chemical said on Monday.

Dow and Mitsui plan to build a polyethylene (PE) plant that will use sugarcane-based ethanol as a feedstock.

The plant will be in Santa Vitoria, Minas Gerais, in southeast Brazil. Production could start in 2015.

Typically, petrochemical-based PE releases 1.8kg of carbon dioxide for every 1kg produced, said Luis Cihiral, business director, renewable alternatives and business development in Latin America for Dow Chemical.

Cihiral made his comments on the sidelines of the 31st Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting in Buenos Aires.

By avoiding a petrochemical route for PE production, Dow and Mitsui will avoid that 1.8kg release of carbon dioxide.

In addition, renewable PE can absorb 2.1kg of carbon dioxide for every 1kg of resin produced, he said.

Ultimately, renewable PE will offset 3.9kg of carbon dioxide, he said.

Dow's process for producing PE will have another benefit.

Dow is making the feedstock ethylene by dehydrating ethanol. As such, Dow is producing one unit of water for every unit of ethylene.

The company can use the water to irrigate sugarcane fields, he said.

APLA ends on Tuesday.

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