2020 has been an active year for Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic), as the materials firm reacts to the COVID-19 pandemic while advancing in sustainability.
Polycarbonate and other materials made by Sabic are being used in face shields and other health care applications, Americas Vice President Greg Adams said during a Sept. 21 interview with Plastics News.
"We're seeing a lot of demand from medical and from the computer industry, as well as from companies that have moved their office staff to working from home," he added. "In the last year, COVID-19 has made us all think about how we design interior spaces and how we use products like sheet for dividers."
Sabic, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with U.S. headquarters in Houston, has donated $1.5 million to pandemic-related relief efforts. During the pandemic, Sabic also has seen growth in packaging and electronics, Adams said. Automotive demand has been down, but Adams said that market "is on its way back."
In sustainability, Sabic continues to advance its Trucircle program, which uses technology to create certified circular polymers from the chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste.
"Several years ago, we started to look into ways of attaining sustainability targets," Atieh Abu Raqabah, global R&D general manager, said Sept. 21. "We started to think of how [to] make value from plastic waste."
Sabic has designed a demonstration unit to turn mixed plastics into monomers through pyrolysis. That product can be fed back into chemical crackers and used again in production, Abu Raqabah said.
The demonstration unit will be able to process 110 million pounds of material per year. It will open in Europe at a date yet to be determined.
"We're seeing more technical solutions, and that's a positive step forward," Abu Raqabah said.