Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, our society has come to consume more and more fossil fuels. We started with coal, and then came oil, natural gas and others.
The growth in demand for these fossil fuels at the beginning of the second half of the twentieth century became exponential. In the first decade of this century, we are consuming those materials more than ever!
It’s easy to see the enormous benefits that the use of these fuels has brought to all humankind. Due to the growth of the world population, we could not have reached the standards of comfort and life expectancy we have today without the energy generated with the use of fossil fuels.
However, throughout the 1960s, man started to realize that the planet was signaling that something was not right. Some regions began to experience shorter periods of heavier rainfall while others were suffering severe droughts or freezing winters and an ongoing sequence of climatic anomalies.
Then scientists discovered an almost direct link between the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere through the use of fossil fuels for various purposes, and global warming. Since then, the world has been seeking ways to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.
Based on these concerns and heeding those of its clients, Braskem is now engaging more decisively in the pursuit of solutions to this global problem.
Since Brazil is a tropical country with vast areas of arable land and a sugarcane and ethanol production technology known to be the most competitive in the world, this set of factors has inspired Braskem teams to study solutions for the production of plastics that could help solve the problem of global warming and result in a more sustainable chemical industry.
Since the green ethylene unit in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul, began operations in September, using ethanol as a raw material, Braskem has become the world’s largest producer of sustainable plastic. It makes a variety of polyethylene with all the physical and chemical properties of the conventional kind, but because it is produced from sugarcane, it can fix up to 2.5 kg CO2 per kilo of product.
Clients have enthusiastically welcomed this news, and sent in orders for most of the plant’s production far in advance, indicating the high demand for eco-friendly products.
The technology developed so far is enabling us to produce more ethylene derivatives using renewable raw materials. But we do not want to stop there. We want to offer the best alternatives for sustainable chemicals.
Manoel Carnauba is the Braskem Vice President for the Basic Petrochemicals Unit