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Braskem expands renewable plastics research with Boston operation

Houston — Brazilian petrochemical giant Braskem has begun a new US operation, in Boston, dedicated to the development and commercialization of renewable feedstocks, the company said Thursday.

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The Boston operation will boost innovations in Braskem's biotechnology and advanced-materials sectors, the company said in a statement. Braskem is the largest thermoplastics resins producer in the Americas, seeks to expand and diversify its use of renewable chemicals.

"Renewable chemistry will lead the next wave of development in chemicals and polymers," Gustavo Sergi, Braskem renewable chemicals business director said. "Our announcement today reinforces Braskem's position at the forefront of this movement. As we look forward, by developing and leading the next wave of renewable chemicals and polymers, we are bringing our customers new and innovative choices."

The operation will complement existing capabilities at Braskem's Renewable Chemistry Research Center in Brazil, as well as its materials science R&D competencies present in the US, said Mateus Schreiner Garcez Lopez, Braskem's head of innovation in renewable technologies.

Braskem produces polymers in Brazil, Mexico, Germany and the US -- but does not have bio-based polyethylene capacity outside of a swing PE line at its Triunfo complex in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, which can produce up to 200,000 mt of "Green Polyethylene" and is fed by a "Green Ethylene" olefins unit with the same capacity, according to company records.

The raw material used for the production of both is sugarcane ethanol, according to Braskem.

--Jordan B. Young,

--Edited by Richard Rubin,