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How sweet it is! PE gets a sugary flavor

Dow Chemical (Midland, MI) has sweetened its polyethylene (PE) offerings after signing an agreement with Crystalsev, one of Brazil’s largest ethanol producers, to produce PE from sugar cane. Dow, the world’s largest PE producer, is using the move to polish its environmental image applying a renewable resource as a raw material and claiming the “production process will significantly reduce [the] carbon footprint.”
Under terms of the agreement, the companies will design and build a 350,000 tonnes/yr capacity solution PE plant set to open in 2011 using ethanol derived from sugar cane rather than naphtha or natural gas liquids to manufacture Dowlex-brand grades. No location for the facility has been announced but the companies say a number of potential sites are being considered that will not result in destruction of rain forests.
Earlier this summer, Brazilian petrochemical firm Braskem announced the creation of a biobased high-density polyethylene (HDPE), applying sugar-cane ethanol as a feedstock (see e-Weekly June 29 for initial report). Targeting commercial production by 2009, Braskem has invested $5 million and built a pilot unit at Braskem’s Technology and Innovation Center that’s already producing unspecified amounts of the material. Braskem’s goal is industrial-scale production with a potential annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes.—[email protected]
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