DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Oct. 30, 1:35 p.m. EDT) — South American petrochemical giant Braskem SA plans to open the world's first sugar-based polyethylene plant in 2009, and also has partnered with Venezuela's national oil firm on a major resin and feedstocks complex in that country.
SÃ£o Paulo-based Braskem will open the 440 million-pound-capacity “green” PE plant in Triunfo, pending approval of Braskem's management board early next year, Chief Executive Officer Jose Carlos Grubisch said during a new conference at K 2007 in Dusseldorf.
“This will be a very attractive product that has the major advantage of having the green label,” he said.
Sugar cane will be converted into ethanol and then into ethylene. Brazil, the world´s largest sugar grower, already makes extensive use of ethanol as a fuel.
Grubisch added that Braskem´s sugar-to-PE plan is three years ahead of a similar project announced in the region by Dow Chemical Co.
"Our advantage is that we have existing capacities in Brazil, so we can be on a very fast track," he said. "We´ll be the first to market because of our resource advantage."
The 50-50 deal with Pequiven of Venezuela will develop a site with capacity for more than 2 billion pounds of PE, almost 1 billion pounds of polypropylene, almost 700 million pounds of PVC and almost 2.9 billion pounds of ethylene feedstock on Venezuela´s Caribbean coast by 2011. The project is part of a "petrochemical revolution" announced by Pequiven at K 2007 that ultimately will include the addition of almost 12 billion pounds of resin capacity.
Braskem ranks as Brazil´s largest producer of PE, PP and PVC. The firm expects to post sales of $11 billion in 2007, with more than 20 percent of that amount coming from the export market.