More money is being put into the development of bio-sourced polyolefins by Braskem of Brazil. It is to invest R$ 8·25 million (about Eur 3 million) in research into the development of propylene from sugar cane.
Braskem announced the development of bio-sourced polypropylene in 2007 and started producing pilot quantities last year.
The investment is split 50:50 with Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (Fapesp) and will be carried out in association with the biotechnology area of the University of Campinas (Unicamp).
In April this year Braskem started its Green Polyethylene Project at its petrochemical complex in Triunfo, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The project investments will reach around R$ 500 million (Eur 180 million) and will include the construction of an ethylene plant based on ethanol sourced from sugar cane. Start-up of the 200,000 tonnes green ethylene plant is planned for the fourth quarter of 2010, and commercial operation is expected to start in early 2011.
The bio-sourced polyethylene distribution agreement set up with Toyota Tsusho in Japan last year has scored its first commercial contract, with Shiseido of Japan, one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world. Braskem says that potential annual demand already identified for the Green PE is around 600,000 thousand tonnes, three times as much the capacity of the new plant under construction at Triunfo.