Officials with Saudi Basic Industries Corp. focused on sustainability at a K 2010 news conference, while also addressing future plans for additional production of polycarbonate and polyurethanes.
Sabic based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has placed sustainability at the center of its development efforts. At K 2010, the firm offered several new sustainable products, including grades of Noryl-brand polyphenylene oxide/ polyphenylene ether, Cycoloy-brand PC/ABS and Lexan-brand PC resins that contain post-consumer recycled content as well as a rigorous new validation process for sustainable materials and applications.
We are stressing that growth must be sustainable, Sabic Chief Operating Officer Mohamed Al-Mady said at the event. We're looking at recyclability, weight out and fuel efficiency, as well as reducing carbon footprint, water usage and power usage.
In addition to opening the massive Saudi Kayaan PC plant in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia, early next year, Sabic is contemplating the addition of PC to a petrochemicals site it operates in China through a joint venture with Sinopec, Al-Mady said.
Polycarbonate is a very critical product portfolio for us, said Charlie Crew, president and CEO of Sabic's Sabic Innovative Plastics unit in Pittsfield, Mass.
Kayaan is important for us to supply Asia and the Middle East as new customers come to participate there.
Crew also pointed out that the Kayaan PC plant is based on technology licensed from Asahi and not on Lexan technology developed by GE Plastics of Pittsfield, Mass.
These are two different technologies making products that sell into different applications, he said. They won't compete with each other and overall they'll expand the market space for polycarbonate. And we know how to sell polycarbonate.
Sabic also is finalizing discussions with a technology provider that would bring PU production to a location in Saudi Arabia, according to Al-Mady.
Sabic ranks as one of the world's largest polyolefins makers. Its Sabic Innovative Plastics unit based in Pittsfield, Mass. ranks as one of the world's largest engineering resins producers.
In an interview after the news conference, Crew said Sabic IP is looking at the long-term perspective on reducing our carbon footprint. The process includes reviewing the company's own internal-energy use as well as its use of water, a material that is closely tracked in Saudi Arabia.
While at K 2010, Sabic IP also introduced a Sustainable Product Scorecard, developed with New York-based GreenOrder consulting firm. The scorecard can validate Sabic IP's sustainability claims by measuring its products' environmental benefits with conventional or alternative materials. Validated claims can allow customers to differentiate their product and showcase their own sustainability intitiatives, officials said.
We wanted to apply some level of uniformity to our vendor base, Crew added. It's kind of like what the [American Chemistry Council] has done with Responsible Care. It's a broader method of how we deal with energy efficiency.
Crew added that one of the challenges facing plastic materials makers is that the larger industry really hasn't defined sustainability.
In the 1960s, you had [Underwriters Laboratories Inc.] come in and suddenly there were standards that you had to meet. It was a standard set by an outside company. The automotive industry also doesn't have an overall sustainability agenda. Consumer electronics is farther along because they have more end-of-life issues with their products.
On the new-product front, Crew said Sabic IP's Valox iQ recycled resins have enormous applications in a lot of spaces, and the firm would like to expand that model into its Xenoy-brand PC/ polybutylene terephthalate resins as well.
Other sustainable products Sabic IP showcased at K were:
* Noryl Classico PCR resin, the first grade in an open-loop family of modified PPE resins. The material contains 20 percent recycled content and can be used in electronic housings, modems and power adaptors.
* Cycoloy PCR resins, which are PC/ABS blends with 30-50 percent open-loop post-consumer PC from water bottles, CDs and other sources. It is usable in laptop and consumer electronics housings.
* Lexan and Lexan EXL PCR resins, including four grades with post-consumer content of 10-80 percent. All are based on high-performance Lexan EXL technology and can reduce carbon footprints by 20-64 percent. The materials already have been used in Motorola's Moto-brand cell phones.
Crew also said the recently announced collaboration between Sabic IP's Exatec PC window glazing unit and Ulvac Technologies Inc., a Japanese specialist in mass-production vacuum technologies, is an incredible opportunity for Exatec.
Under terms of the deal, Ulvac will manufacture mass-production systems using its vacuum-equipment experience and Exatec's plasma-coating technology.
The reality is that we can provide improved performance, he said.