Saudi Basic Industries Corp. has improved sustainability and performance with new materials.
The firm — based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with U.S. headquarters in Houston — will soon be launching a new LNP Thermocomp-brand compound, its first bio-based product. The new material offers customers a more sustainable option vs. competitive materials for demanding applications in electrical/electronics, health care and other key industries, officials said.
"A lot of our customers are asking how they can make it to 100 percent sustainability," Darpan Parikh, global product management leader, said in an interview with Plastics News. "They want to use everything existing and available in the waste stream."
For every 100 kilograms of the new compound, 21 kilograms of fossil-based materials have been replaced with bio-based materials derived from waste or residue, such as crude tall oil and hydrotreated vegetable oils, officials said. The new compound also incorporates more than 50 percent recycled content from post-consumer plastic and pre-consumer carbon fiber sources.
Developing new materials during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for Sabic and other materials firms. "It's had its pluses and minuses," Parikh said. "Some lab activities have been constrained because of lockdowns, but we've also had time to work on new chemistry to address customer needs."
Earlier this year, Sabic introduced a new LNP Colorcomp-brand compound that officials said was "a breakthrough material" based on advanced nanotechnology that facilitates efficient production of PET foams for core materials in sandwich structures.
They added that the new compound improves control over nucleation and cell growth, which can reduce the foam's weight by minimizing resin uptake in sandwich structures. Enhancing PET foams with the new compound can address the evolving needs of multiple industries, including marine, building and construction, packaging and wind energy, officials said.
Diab Group of Sweden chose the new LNP Colorcomp compound using nanotechnology to reduce weight and improve mechanical properties of sandwich structures with PET foams, which are used as the core material of wind turbine blades. These improvements to the core foam material helped designers create new, longer blades that address standards for precision, weight and consistent quality, and that contribute to greater overall energy generation.
Sabic's new LNP Elcres CRX-brand family of co-polymer resins was named a finalist for the 2021 Edison Awards in the COVID-19 Innovations category. Officials said that these materials deliver exceptional chemical resistance that can help prevent premature failure from environmental stress cracking in medical devices and equipment housings exposed to aggressive health care disinfectants.
Parikh said chemical resistance became even more important during the pandemic because of houses and devices being cleaned more often.
Officials also said that Sabic has diverted more than 100 million single-use 16.9-ounce PET water bottles from landfills and incinerators since late 2019 by using them as feedstock for its Elcrin IQ-brand polybutylene terephthalate materials. Elcrin IQ is made from post-consumer PET water bottles through a unique chemical upcycling process.
"Based on the enthusiastic response seen by customers across several market segments and technology enhancements … Sabic anticipates diverting about 10 billion PET bottles by 2030," officials said.
Sabic also recently introduced the first polycarbonate powder for selective laser sintering 3D printing equipment that officials said offers superior mechanical properties and high temperature resistance for a variety of industrial applications.
Sabic is a global petrochemicals firm that ranks as a major producer of polyethylene, polypropylene and specialty resins and compounds. The firm employs 33,000 and posted sales of $31.2 billion in 2020.