Solvay will build an ethylene plant in Santo Andre, Brazil, which will used sugar cane-based ethanol as feedstock. The ethylene produced in the plant will then be used to manufacture polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Ethylene and chlorine are the two main feedstock needed to manufacture PVC.
Solvay says the Santo Andre plant will be the first industrial project in the Americas implementing renewable resources for the production of PVC.
Think the semi-bio-based PVC could appease environmental activists against the product? I think not. Many chlorinated chemicals are banned in most environmentalists’ green book and according to them, PVC releases the toxic chemicals dioxins during its manufacture and disposal.
Unless these dioxins can be taken out of the picture, environmental groups will continue promoting PVC’s ban in consumer products. The use of biobased ethylene could be a good first step but there is still many reformulations to go before PVC can look green in their eyes.