Bayport Polymers LLC has launched production on a new polyethylene resin unit with 1.4 billion pounds of annual production capacity in Pasadena, Texas.
Officials with the firm — which operates as Baystar — said that the new unit is the first of its kind in North America, with proprietary Borstar-brand technology from Borealis, one of the partners in the joint venture.
The new line more than doubles Baystar's production capacity in Pasadena.
In an Oct. 4 video interview with Plastics News, Baystar President Diane Chamberlain said that Baystar is taking "a different approach" to the polyethylene market. "We want to solve problems," she added. "We're small enough to be nimble and make unique products."
Borstar technology "brings a transformative approach to production flexibility for manufacturers and converters seeking a broad range of highly customized products for lighter, more durable, more flexible, and more efficient plastics."
Borstar products are PFAS-free and can enable more than 50 percent post-consumer recycled material in some end products, they added.
Commercial director Brad Leesman said the flexible packaging and film markets "are big focus areas" for Baystar, but the new line also can make injection molding grades or grades for other applications. He described materials made on the new line as "a multimodal [linear low density] PE that doesn't behave like a typical LLDPE."
Examples of products that can be made with Baystar material and recycled content include heavy duty shipping sacks and form, fill and seal packaging applications, according to Leesman.
And although many North American PE makers are becoming increasingly dependent on export markets, Leesman said that Baystar "doesn't intend to export a lot of product."
"We're making a differentiated product, not a 'me too,'" he added. Baystar does have an exclusive arrangement with co-owner Borealis that allows Borealis to sell resins made in Texas into export markets, primarily in Europe.
Looking to 2024, Chamberlain said that she's looking forward to continued growth, particularly in the pipe market, where Baystar expects to receive approvals for its materials.
Work on the new line began in 2019. Baystar became a fully integrated PE resin maker in 2022 with the start-up of a 2.2 billion pound-per-year ethane cracker unit in Port Arthur, Texas, which supplies ethylene feedstock to Baystar's three PE production units.
Baystar invested more than $1.4 billion on the new unit. "We're big enough to introduce leading technologies, but small enough to be nimble and highly responsive on behalf of our customers," commercial director Brad Leesman said.
Bayport Polymers was formed in 2018 by French energy and materials firm TotalEnergies and Novealis Holdings LLC, which is a joint venture between materials firms Nova Chemicals of Calgary and Borealis AG of Vienna.