Novozymes, it seems, is flooding my inbox with lots of news from Copenhagen, but this one is pretty significant for the bioplastic market.
Novozymes and Brazilian chemical company Braskem announced today that they formed a research partnership to develop large-scale polypropylene production from sugarcane. The sugar-based propylene production will use Novozyme’s fermentation technology, although the development is expected to run for at least 5 years.
Polypropylene (PP) is current made from petroleum oil, and is said to be most widely used thermoplastic worldwide. The market is estimated to be worth $66bn with an annual growth rate of 4%. Global consumption for PP last year was 44m metric tons.
Braskem is also currently building a 200,000-tons-per-year green polyethylene plant in Brazil with ethanol from sugarcane as the raw material.
That facility is expected to start operations in 2011. Last month, Braskem signed a deal with Tetra Pak to supply the company limited volumes of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) derived entirely from a renewable feedstock.
Braskem will begin supplying Tetra Pak with 5 Kilotons per year of green HDPE from 2011, for use in the production of plastic caps and closures. The volume represents just over 5% of Tetra pak’s total HDPE demand, and is said to be slightly less than 1% of its total plastics purchases.