February 13, 2013

Weekly News Roundup

I am eager to share my interview about with this new start-up company called Ovation Biotech, which will be included in one of my oleochemical presentation slides (there's your hint!). I will post that interview as soon as I finish wrapping up my powerpoint presentation this week.

For now, here are this week's news roundup. Bioplastic it seems is back again in the limelight. In fact, a recent article from BNAmericas noted that sugarcane-based polyethylene producer Braskem will reportedly freeze its plans to build another green PE facility as well as a new sugar-based polypropylene plant. Braskem, it seems has also realized the cost pressure of manufacturing bio-based PE as compared to cheaper shale gas-based PE.

Braskem is the only company commercially producing biobased PE at its 200,000 tonnes/year facility in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Braskem has been planning to expand its biobased PE with around 400,000 tonnes/year-scale, a new bio-based polypropylene (PP) plant with a capacity between 30,000-50,000 tonnes/year.

There were reports in mid-2012 that these projects have been delayed but according to Braskem late last year, the company did not yet set definite deadlines for these projects, which were still being considered for approval at that time. I guess Braskem management has finally caved in under pressure from investors and credit ratings agencies to cut its leverage and increase cash generation.

Last month, Dow Chemical and Mitsui have also reportedly delay their plans to produce their own sugar-based PE in Brazil.

Purac offers sample PLA resins
Lactic acid producer Purac is now offering a range of specially developed high performance resins made from from PURALACT lactide based polylactic acid (PLA). The range includes PLLA homopolymer resins, PDLA homopolymer resins, and PLA compounded blends specifically developed for injection molding and extrusion. The resins are available for sampling and product evaluation purposes.

L'Occitane uses Braskem's Green PE
Cosmetic and personal care products company L'Occitane en Provence is now using Braskem's sugarcane-based polyethylene (PE) plastic in its Bonne Mere line of daily-use body products launched this month. The line is already being sold in France and will be exported to over 85 countries.

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