Green Chemicals: Braskem expects boost in bioplastic demand

25 June 2012 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Growing demand for sustainable products should benefit bio-based polyethylene (PE) and other renewable plastics in the upcoming years, according to Brazil-based bioplastics producer Braskem.

Demand for biopolymers is growing by 20%/year, said Rodrigo Belloli, marketing and market intelligence manager for renewable chemicals at Braskem.

As demand and interest in bio-based products grow in Latin America, Braskem is targeting the biopolymers sector, which should remain a niche market, Belloli said.

"Innovative solutions with a sustainable profile should catch the consumer's and the market's preference. Aligned with this trend, green PE, which is already a differentiated solution in biopolymers, should benefit from this growing market demand," he said.

According to Belloli, biopolymers that have a technical profile that meets current market conditions and that are compatible with existing recycling systems will face fewer challenges.

Bioplastics originally were different polymers from those of the traditional market, demanding investments and adjustments in the plastic supply chain.

Renewable PE, on the other hand, is a drop-in polymer, which means it does not demand any investment or equipment adjustment from plastic customers.

"Green PE is 100% compatible with the traditional plastic recycling system, being able to be mixed with conventional polyethylenes," he said. Belloli said these characteristics could make PE demand and production stronger.

Braskem produces PE via ethanol-based ethylene at its site in Triunfo, Brazil. The company is also considering polypropylene (PP) production via ethanol-based propylene.

By: Leo Siqueira
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