Braskem plans to build a more efficient PVC feedstock plant in a partnership with a U.S. technology company.
The Brazilian materials giant also released ambitious sustainability goals on Nov. 10, pledging to significantly expand its efforts to eliminate plastic waste in the environment by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Braskem will build an ethylene dichloride (EDC) demonstration plant in Maceio, Brazil, in a partnership with Chemetry Corp. of Moss Landing, Calif. EDC is a feedstock used to make vinyl chloride monomer, which then is used to make PVC resin.
Chemetry's eShuttle EDC process uses a unique metal halide ion process to produce high-purity EDC without the generation of chlorine gas, officials said in a recent news release. The process significantly reduces electrical power consumption and production costs compared with the latest generation chloralkali processes, they added.
The technology uses the same feedstocks and produces the same products as conventional processes, officials said, making it ideal for both greenfield projects and retrofits of existing chloralkali/EDC plants.
"Through our eShuttle platform, Chemetry is able to provide a safer and more environmentally friendly approach to the production of commodity chemicals while at the same time improving margins," CEO Ryan Gilliam said in the release. "This will well position the company and technology to meet the growing need for new EDC capacity."
Braskem's sustainability goals continue a process that began in 2009, when the firm launched long-term sustainability goals for 2020. Those goals emphasized Braskem's commitment to providing solutions that address climate change.
Braskem's I'm Green products are sourced from renewable sources and recycled content. Since 2009, the firm has also reduced the intensity of carbon emissions from its operations by 20 percent.
In 2018, Braskem further committed to all plastic packaging being reused, recycled or recovered by 2040. The firm on Nov. 10 announced additional commitments to mitigate climate change, eliminate plastic waste and provide solutions for recycled products in its markets.
Those new goals are:
• By 2025, expand the I'm Green portfolio to include sales of almost 700 million pounds of recycled content products per year.
• By 2030, continue to expand that portfolio to include sales of more than 2 billion pounds of recycled content products per year.
• By 2030, work to divert more than 3 billion pounds of plastic waste away from incineration, landfill or the environment.
• By 2030, deliver a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions from Braskem operations.
• By 2050, achieve carbon neutrality for Braskem's global operations.
"Braskem has a long history of taking action to create a more sustainable world," CEO Roberto Simoes said in a news release. "As the first and leading producer of biopolymers, Braskem has been at the forefront of creating positive change to support people, society and the environment."
He added that the firm "intends to continue its leadership as the industry transitions to a carbon-neutral circular economy."
"Plastic plays a vital role in society, and we believe that the strategic direction of our latest sustainability commitments will allow plastics to continue its role in advancing innovation and providing sustainable solutions," Simoes said.
Braskem, based in São Paulo with North American headquarters in Philadelphia, employs 8,000 worldwide and posted sales of $13.2 billion in 2019. The firm ranks as North America's largest polypropylene maker and is a major producer of a range of other plastics, bioplastics and specialty chemicals.