On July 14, Governor Yeda Crusius gave Braskem the operating license, granted by Fepam, for its green ethylene factory. This is the environmental entity's definitive permission to start up the industrial unit, projected for August. The vice-president of the Basic Petrochemical Unit, Manoel Carnaúba Cortez, manager of institutional relations, João Ruy Freire, Braskem advisor, Alfredo Tellechea, Project director, Guilherme Guaragna, and UNIB industrial director, Ademir Zaparolli, represented the company at the act.
Fepam granted the license after analyzing the factory's environmental impact studies. Carnaúba underscored that the unit used technology with the most advanced environmental preservation criteria to produce the green ethylene. The factory's only effluent from producing only ethanol is the water.
During the formal ceremony, Carnaúba informed that 80% of the plant's future production has already been sold, mainly to clients in Europe, United States and Asia. Braskem plans on maintaining part of the available volume to conduct a global marketing campaign for the resin. "There is tremendous environmental appeal and we want the world to know our option," says the executive.
Yeda Crusius took advantage of the moment to announce the creation of a committee to deal with self-sufficiency in ethanol production in Rio Grande do Sul. The government will study cities to induce the sugar cane crop. The Green PE Project will consume about 470 million liters of ethanol/year, a volume that will initially be purchased from other regions.
Braskem's green ethylene unit will be the 1st in the world to use the 100% renewable raw material on an industrial scale. The best engineering practices were employed to construct the plant, with investments of R$ 500 million. Production capacity will be 200 thousand tons.
Nearly 2200 workers have worked on plant construction thus far, 174 of whom were trained by the Acreditar Program. Over an eight month period, Acreditar trained 248 Triunfo residents in its electrician, structure assembly, plumber, carpenter and welder courses. The Project was an Odebrecht initiative, in partnership with Braskem, SENAI and Triunfo City Hall.
About the green plastic project
Braskem's green ethylene factory is the first industrial unit in the world to use sugar cane ethanol to produce ethylene from a 100% renewable source on a commercial scale. "Implementation of this project confirms Braskem's commitment to contribute towards development of the Brazilian petrochemical sector and Rio Grande do Sul," says Braskem vice-president, Manoel Carnaúba.
The unit will have the capacity to produce 200 thousand tons/year of ethylene, which will be transformed into an equivalent volume of polyethylene at already existing industrial units at the Triunfo Complex. Construction began on the unit in April 2009 and it will be ready in August, two months ahead of schedule.
The Green Polymer project is part of the strategy to access competitive renewable raw material sources in line with the company's vision of sustainability. It also contributes towards society's sustainable development since the green plastic removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits over its entire life cycle, from growing the sugar cane crop to post-consumption recycling.
Since last year, Braskem has been establishing a series of partnerships with renowned national and international clients, mainly in Europe, United States and Japan, interested in reinforcing the association of their brands to the sustainability concept. It is worth underscoring the agreements signed with Toyota Tsusho, the Toyota group trading company, Shiseido, the renowned cosmetics manufacturer geared towards the high standard segment, and Acinplas, of Rio Grande do Sul. Already identified potential demand for Green PE is around 600 thousand tons/year, three times more than the new plant's capacity.
Besides the environmental aspects, there is additional stimulus for using the green polymer due to its application characteristics and the fact that its properties are identical to traditional plastic. This permits transformation industries to use their entire current industrial park to process the renewable source resin. Green PE has applications in markets such as blown packaging for foods and hygiene products, injected packaging for household appliances and the toy and automobile industries.
The Green PE Project will consume about 500 million liters of ethanol/year, a volume that will initially be purchased from other regions. This is an opportunity to develop the ethanol production chain in the state, with enormous potential for generating jobs, income and tax revenue.
The plant under construction in Rio Grande do Sul represents the State's capacity to attract large projects due to the healthy economic-financial situation it has constructed over recent years.