Braskem studies sustainable plastic production from CO2 capture and use

Dec 21 2020

Braskem joined the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to research a development route for ethylene, a raw material used in the production of thermoplastic resins, using CO2 emitted in industrial processes.

The project is in its initial stage of development and Braskem will have the mission of combining its know-how in the commercialization of raw materials and production of polymers with the aim to scale the technology, contributing to the validation of theoretical and experimental studies, produced by the University . 

"Reducing carbon emissions is a fundamental premise for combating climate change, a commitment that is part of our macro-objectives for sustainable development. The objective of the partnership with the University of Illinois in Chicago, is to evaluate the possibility of capturing and converting the CO2 emitted in our industrial operation to make it a raw material in our polymer production processes ", said Luiz Alberto Falcon, responsible for Braskem's recycling platform. 

According to a study by the International Energy Agency, the global chemical industry emits approximately 1.5 billion tons of CO2 annually from the use of energy in addition to its industrial processes. Initial estimates of the technology's potential indicate that if all of this gas were converted and recovered, more than 300 million tons of chemicals or resins would be generated, such as those produced by Braskem. In addition, the use of renewable energy in the process is key to reducing the carbon footprint and improving the attractiveness of technology from an economic and environmental perspective. 

According to Professor Meenesh Singh, responsible for the project at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the partnership with Braskem will contribute to the development of an integrated, sustainable and energy-efficient technology. 

"Fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal, are used extensively in industrial boilers to generate steam for the production of chemicals. More sustainable boiler operations, with greater energy efficiency and reduced carbon intensity, require continuous capture of CO2 and its recycling for chemicals such as ethylene, which has a major impact on the circular economy of manufacturing processes."

"The objective of the partnership between UIC and Braskem is to establish a completely integrated, sustainable and low-energy system, capable of continuously capturing flue gas CO2 and converting it into ethylene for the production of polyethylene. To develop the system with the necessary performance, our group at UIC will rely on the experience demonstrated in electrochemical CO2 reduction reactions and will combine it with the technology that is being patented to actively capture CO2 from flue gases," explained Professor Singh. 

University of Illinois at Chicago

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Issue 78 - Nov - Dec 2020

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