Braskem progresses in research on chemical recycling of plastics


Braskem Chemical Recycling of plastics

Braskem moved forward in its efforts to improve the technology for the chemical recycling of post-consumer plastics. Braskem is known for its commitment to developing innovative solutions that could significantly contribute to the circular economy and sustainable development.

Braskem had been working in partnership with EngePol – COPPE / UFRJ Polymer Engineering Laboratory and SENAI CETIQT has signed a cooperation agreement to make the next phases of the research feasible with the educational institutions and the Fábrica Carioca de Catalisadores (FCC SA). Braskem secured the contract after it participated in a selection process initiated by SENAI. The likely investments in this stage of the research have been projected at R $ 2.7 million, between financial and human resources of the institutions and companies involved.

It is to be recalled that since 2018, Braskem has been endeavoring to increase the efficiency of pyrolysis technology, a process of breaking down plastic resin molecules by applying heat and converting it back into raw material that could be reinserted in the plastic production chain. The project aims to develop the catalysts to improve the quality of products generated in the chemical plastic recycling process.

Informing that in 2019 Braskem identified the need to develop new catalysts after its initial research in chemical recycling, Gus Hutras, responsible for Braskem’s Process Technology area, stated that post evaluation of some options the company approached FCC SA, considered to be a leading supplier of FCC catalysts in the South American market, to compose the ongoing studies with SENAI CETIQT and COPPE / UFRJ.

Gus said, “Now that we have an even more complete body of research and access to the appropriate technology, it will be possible to gain agility to advance in the development of a technically and economically viable chemical recycling solution.” Is project which is for the time being is experimental and already showed great potential for positive impact on society, the circular economy and sustainability, added Gus.

Mentioning that FCC SA’s strategic planning explicitly contemplated the development of new products and markets, Sidney Martins, coordinator of New Business at FCC SA, felt, “We have identified as priority applications inserted in the circular economy and the bio-economy areas with enormous growth potential.” Sidney further remarked that the FCC SA is quite confident about the outcome of the result from this project with Braskem, SENAI CETIQT and COPPE / UFRJ regarding chemical recycling of unserviceable plastics from solid urban waste.

Talking about the main advantages of investing in chemical recycling, Fabiana Quiroga, responsible for Braskem’s Circular Economy area in South America, stated. “The discarded plastic waste is processed and transformed into raw material again, which would ultimately bring new plastic resins.” The company has undertaken measures to connect research and innovation to create sustainable solutions. It looks for developing more businesses and initiatives for the valorization of plastic waste to close the cycle as a whole. The research and teaching institutions at Braskem are aligned with the objective of contributing to the circular economy. 

Emphasizing on its mission to promote the sustainability and competitiveness of the Brazilian chemical industry through the development of new products and processes, Paulo Coutinho, manager of the Senai Institute for Innovation in Biosynthetics and Fibers, at SENAI CETIQT, commented, “Within the circular economy, we are positioned as a strategic link for the materialization of solutions that promote positive impacts on the business of partner companies and on society as a whole.” José Carlos Pinto, professor at the Chemical Engineering Program at COPPE / UFRJ and coordinator of the Polymerization Engineering Laboratory (EngePol), showed his agreement in coming together with different entities. Talking about establishing and consolidate the concepts of circular economy in the plastics sector, the professor, informed, “In recent years we have studied the processes of the chemical recycling of plastics, with thermal and catalytic pyrolysis being the most promising technology. The partnership with Braskem, FCC SA, and SENAI CETIQT would be an excellent opportunity for these studies to reach a larger scale, he commented.

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