The world’s leading petrochemical technology licensor, Lummus Technology, and the Brazilian petrochemical major, Braskem, have joined forces to develop technologies for two ethanol-to-green ethylene production units to be set up in North America and Asia.
The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding, according to which Lummus will be leveraging its technology developing competency and Braskem will be sharing its ten years long expertise as well as resources in producing bioethanol from sugarcane to this project for creating a robust foothold for sustainable ethylene-based products. The technology will be fulfilling its sustainability mandate by capturing released carbon emissions and utilizing them for producing plastics and other important chemical products.
‘Green ethylene’ is the term given to ethylene produced from ethanol which is derived from natural/renewable sources like sugarcane. Ethanol undergoes catalytic dehydrogenation to produce ethylene which is the fundamental chemical responsible for giving birth to the plastics industry across the world. It serves as the raw material for preparing polyethylene, ethylene glycol, ethylene dichloride and styrene, all of which are used to prepare different grades of plastics that underpin almost every sector of our society.
As per ChemAnalyst, the alliance between Lummus and Braskem marks a strategic move towards establishing sustainable solutions with the distribution of their technology across the petrochemical sector which is a chief source of carbon emissions across the world. The commercialization of their low-emission technologies has the potential to bring a transition in the petrochemical and related downstream sectors by making the circularity of plastics and their feedstocks a widely adopted practice which could result in preserving the sanctity of our planet. From the market’s point of view, Brazil and Asian regions will serve as ideal locations for setting up of green ethylene plants as their large-scale sugarcane production offer easy availability of sugarcane feeds to these production facilities. The technology can aid in nurturing the nascent-phased bio-ethylene market and enhancing the green ethylene supply in the North American and Asian markets which is anticipated to satiate the jumping ethylene demand in these regions.