Natural Plastics

News about the bioplastics industry

Wine bottle closures to be made using Braskem's green plastic in the United States

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braskem logo Nomacorc will launch the first closure made from Braskem's 100% renewable material in United States.  Called Select® Bio, the closures are 100% recyclable and feature the same oxygen management performance as the conventional line, while also preventing deterioration and waste caused by processes such as oxidation and reduction.  In this case, the green plastic works as an efficient drop-in replacement for cork, a material provided by special trees that can take up to decades to grow.

Braskem's I'm greenTM Polyethylene is made from ethylene derived from sugarcane ethanol. Its main advantage is that it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since it sequesters carbon dioxide during its production process. It also features the same properties as traditional polyethylene, which means that manufacturers do not have to change their machinery and that it can be recycled. To help consumers recognize the green plastic, Braskem created the "I'm greenTM" seal, which guarantees the renewable origin of the packaging.

Source: Braskem

Mercedes - Benz puts renewable fuel on the road

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A fuel of the future is being introduced to the streets in a fleet test launched by the joined forces of Clariant, Haltermann, and Mercedes-Benz. The Clariant sunliquid® process converts wheat straw into cellulosic ethanol. The company Haltermann then mixes the cellulosic ethanol with conventional fuel components to form the new fuel. The production of cellulosic ethanol is virtually CO2-neutral, saving almost 100 % of CO2 emissions when compared to gasoline. sunliquid®20 is 20 % cellulosic ethanol, i.e. the well-to-wheel comparison shows reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of around 20 percent with consistent engine power. There is no competition with food production or for agricultural acreage. A high octane number (RON) of over 100 guarantees optimal efficiency.

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“Cellulosic ethanol is a genuinely sustainable and advanced biofuel of the latest generation. It is produced in Germany from agricultural residues. The fleet test will demonstrate that the fuel is ready for market and technically compatible with in series vehicles at a blending rate of 20 % with super gasoline. This shows that second generation biofuels based on agricultural residues are now technologically ready and available, not only in production but in application as well," says Professor Andre Koltermann, Head of Group Biotechnology at Clariant. "We are excited to be able to realize this pioneering project with two such distinguished partners. It confirms that our sunliquid® process is the right way to go. The technology can now be implemented across the board - for which we need the right conditions.”

“Our main task is to shape solutions for sustainable mobility of the future. We see great potential in second generation biofuels with regards to sustainability and reduction of greenhouse gases. Petrol with 20 % ethanol can already be used easily in our latest Mercedes-Benz BlueDIRECT petrol engines. This offers ideal potential for best efficiency and high greenhouse gas savings,” explains Peter Lueckert, Director for Engine, Powertrain, and Fuel Injection at Daimler AG.

“This is yet more evidence that Germany is a technology pioneer in research and development for sustainable special fuels. As a specialties company and research partner of the industry we are delighted to be able to produce a fuel with such excellent specifications and environmental characteristics that is, as tests show, compatible with existing engines and infrastructure,” emphasizes Dr. Uwe Nickel, CEO of H·C·S Group (Haltermann Carless Solutions).

Over the next twelve months, test fleet vehicles can be refilled with the new fuel at a specially equipped gas station on the Mercedes-Benzsite in Stuttgart-Untert├╝rkheim. The cellulosic ethanol comes from Clariant's sunliquid® demonstration plant in Straubing, where approximately 4 500 tons of agricultural residues such as grain or corn straw are converted into cellulosic ethanol each year. At the Haltermann plant in Hamburg the bioethanol is mixed with selected components to form the innovative fuel, the specifications of which reflect potential European E20 fuel quality.

Source: Europabio.org

Mitsubishi Chemical Develops New Grade of Bio-based Engineering Plastic DURABIOTM for Automotive Touch Panels

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Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (today announced the development of a new grade of high-performance, high-transparency bio-based engineering plastic called DURABIOTM, using plant-derived isosorbide as its raw material. The new material features excellent optical properties and high resistance to heat and humidity.

MCC will move aggressively to promote sales of DURABIOTM for use in touch panels on automobiles, a sector where demand is expected to increase significantly.
Touch panels for automobiles are used mainly to control air conditioning, audio, and car navigation systems. DURABIOTM offers excellent flexibility in design and can enhance the appearance of automobile interiors, so MCC anticipates much wider use and steady growth in demand.

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Comparison of light distortion-DURABIOTM virtually eliminates distortion in light transmission

In contrast to easily breakable glass, transparent plastics such as impact-resistant polycarbonate, are used for the front plate of automobile touch panels for safety purposes. The disadvantage of polycarbonates, however, is distortion in light transmission, which makes it difficult for users to see the touch panel, so a material that could overcome this problem has been eagerly awaited.

MCC's new grade of DURABIOTM features excellent optical properties, and nearly eliminates distortion in light transmission, making it easy to see the touch panel surface.
Since autumn 2012, MCC has produced DURABIOTM at its Kurosaki Plant (Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka; General Manager: Nobuo Fukuda) with an annual production capacity of 5,000 tons.
MCC will develop new applications for DURABIOTM, in addition to touch panels for automobiles, taking full advantage of its high performance, and increase the annual production capacity to 16,000 tons by fiscal year 2015.

Source: Mitsubishi Chemicals

Nomacorc launches first plant-based wine bottle closure using Braskem's green polyethylene

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image Nomacorc, the leading producer of alternative wine bottle closures, is the first to create a plant-based closure, Select® Bio, using Braskem's I'm greenTM Polyethylene. Green PE is made from sugarcane ethanol, a 100 percent renewable material. Its major advantage is the fact that it is made from raw materials derived from renewable resources, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I'm greenTM Polyethylene not only removes CO2 from the atmosphere due to its renewable feedstock but also contributes to reducing the use of fossil fuel. For each ton produced, "green" polyethylene sequestrates more than 2.0 tons of CO2, a significant gain compared to traditional polyethylene*.

Select® Bio closures are 100 percent recyclable. The closures mirror Nomacorc's current Select® Series portfolio in oxygen management performance. As with other Select® Series products, Select® Bio minimizes the environmental impact of wines by preventing spoilage and waste from wine faults such as oxidation and reduction. By consistently delivering the right amount of oxygen into the bottle using a carbon neutral closure, sustainability-minded wineries will now be able to deliver their wines just as they intend.

"Braskem is a strong organization with a history of creating reliable, sustainable polymer materials for leading manufacturers around the world," said Dr. Olav Aagaard, Nomacorc's principal scientist. "By using Braskem's sugar-cane based green polyethylene, we can confidently offer to our customers a carbon neutral wine closure which will not only be consistent and optimal for their wines, but also now allows them to create a more sustainable packaging solution."

Braskem has been making I'm greenTM polyethylene since 2010 in its Triunfo Plant in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the south region of Brazil. The plant's capacity is 200 kton/year and the total investment amounts to U.S. $290 million. Using agricultural products as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel to produce materials has great potential in Brazil. Brazil has approximately 330 million hectares of arable land of which 67% is in use. Sugarcane cultivation uses 9.2 million hectares which is highly concentrated in the state of Sao Paulo (which is located more than 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) from the Amazon region). Expansion of sugarcane fields is highly regulated to be done in a sustainable way. Brazil is producing annually more than 8 billion gallons (30 billion liters) of bio-alcohol of which only 2.3% is used to make I'm greenTM polyethylene.

"Braskem is excited that Nomacorc, the global leader in wine closures, has chosen Braskem's I'm greenTM Polyethylene to develop a more sustainable wine closure solution. With this, Nomacorc is showing its leadership position in the market and their drive to innovate in developing more sustainable solutions for their customers," said Marco Jansen, Braskem's Renewable Chemicals Commercial Director for Europe and North America.

Source: Braskem

Global Bioplastic Industry 2013-2018: Trend, Forecast, and Opportunity Analysis

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image The global bioplastic industry is expected to witness significant growth and reach an estimated $7.02 billion by 2018. The major forces that are driving bioplastic market are high consumer acceptance, danger posed by climate change, increasing price of fossil materials, and dependence on fossil resources.

Lucintel, a leading global management consulting and market research firm, has conducted a detailed analysis on the bioplastic industry and presents its findings in “Global Bioplastic Industry 2013-2018: Trend, Forecast, and Opportunity Analysis”. The wide variety of bioplastic applications under development is a positive factor for growth of bioplastic which also helps to capture market share from competing materials; huge potential lies within the fields of consumer electronics and automotive. On account of new technological developments, bioplastics are moving out of the niche and entering the mass market. Although full market penetration is just beginning, bioplastic materials and products are multiplying continuously. Multinational brand owners such as PepsiCo and Tetra Pak in the packaging market or Ford, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and Toyota in the automotive market have launched or integrated bioplastic products.

Lucintel highlights some of the major challenges likely to be faced by the industry. Bioplastics are generally two to three times more expensive than the conventional plastics. Currently, bioplastic resins cost at least twice as much as petro plastic resins. Price considerations will be the primary determinant for the success of bioplastic market. It is expected that rising petroleum costs will allow some bioplastic resins to be able to achieve price parity with conventional plastics. As crops are used for bioplastic manufacturing, use of hazardous chemicals such as pesticides in land for agriculture production is much common in practice. The use of arable land and edible crops to produce bioplastics is increasingly perceived as an undesirable development that could increase food prices and contribute to food shortages.

The report also describes some of the key industry drivers. Life cycle analysis demonstrates that bioplastics can reduce CO2 emissions by 30%-70% as compared to conventional plastics. This shows a significant reduction in hazardous waste that is caused by oil-derived plastics. Global business is now turning to bio-plastics as governments demand cleaner alternatives to petroleum-based technologies and their reckless emission of greenhouse gas CO2. One metric ton of bioplastics generates between 0.8 and 3.2 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide as compared to one metric ton of petroleum-based plastics.

Bioplastics are demonstrating impressive growth rates. The strong growth makes way for increasing demand for sustainable solutions in the bioplastic market. Eventually, bioplastics have reached an established position in the number of application sectors from the packaging market to the electronics sector and the automotive industry. Europe and North America remain hot destinations for research and development; they are also important as sales markets.

Source: Lucintel

Green Dot Develops Compostable Synthetic Leather Made with its Terratek® Flex Bioplastic

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image Green Dot has developed a high quality synthetic leather material made with Terratek® Flex, the market’s first compostable elastomeric bioplastic. The new material combines an exquisite soft touch and a lighter environmental footprint to make a more sustainable synthetic leather. 

Green Dot’s new synthetic leather is made without the use of solvents or glues. It is free from phthalates, Bisphenol A and other toxins often found in the soft plastics used for synthetic leathers. Because it’s made with Green Dot’s compostable bioplastic, the material can be returned to nature if placed in a composting environment when its useful life is over. 

Terratek® Flex GDH-B1 has been independently tested and verified to meet European (EN 13432) and U.S. (ASTM D6400) standards for compostability in an industrial composting facility and has been found to biodegrade in a home composting environment as well. Green Dot has completed initial trials with manufacturing partners in the United States. The new synthetic leather can be made in a wide range of colors, textures and thicknesses with a variety of naturally biodegradable backings.

The starch-based bioplastic provides an exquisite soft touch and better breathability compared to other synthetic leathers. It is also ideal for printing and may be easily scented to provide further product differentiation. About Green Dot Holdings LLC - Green Dot is a bioscience social enterprise headquartered in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.  The company serves the plastics industry and style conscious consumers with a full line of biobased and compostable materials sold under the Terratek® brand name.  Green Dot aspires to improve the environment in which we live by building a more sustainable world with renewable biobased resins and promoting their use through invention, creation and research.

Source: Green Dot