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Braskem invests over R$7 million to optimize its Green Plastic production

Braskem SA has revealed that investment in efficiency gains in its Green Plastic manufacturing process paired with other improvements in the company's LCA model has helped it reduce the environmental impact and the carbon footprint of end products by 30 percent.

The green ethylene unit in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul (photo courtesy Braskem).

Brazil-headed Braskem SA, the largest petrochemical and thermoplastic resin company in the Americas has revealed that the capture of efficiency gains in the manufacturing process has helped it reduce the company’s environmental impacts and the carbon footprint of end products.

With an investment of R$7.1 million (≈ US$2 million), from 2013 to 2015 in its green ethylene unit in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul, the company says it was able to significantly reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the production of Green Plastic, by 30 percent.

Braskem automated processes, installed devices to reduce losses, optimised the ethanol vapourization process and reduced the generator’s fuel consumption. It also is developing a wastewater reuse system to optimise the consumption of water resources.

This is a long-term and continuous effort that is aligned with our commitment to sustainable development. Braskem remains focused on operating efficiency in order to capture gains in its processes and competitiveness while reducing environmental impacts in all generations of the plastic chain, said Gustavo Sergi, director of Renewable Chemicals at Braskem.

Carbon negative LCA

Along with process improvements, the Green Plastic Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) model was also updated with the most recent version of Ecoinvent’s database and indicates now a capture of 2.78 tonnes of CO2 for each tonne of resin made from renewable resources. This is an increase in carbon capture from the previous measurement.

The study was conducted by the consulting firm ACV Brasil and subjected to a technical review by a panel formed by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research GmbH (IFEU), Germany and by Michigan State University, US.

Green Plastic already holds a negative carbon footprint certification issued by the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT) in an initiative conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, which is responsible for implementing the National Climate Change Policy in priority industrial sectors.

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