Brazil to become the world's largest producer of green plastics

(Global Plastic Network, February 6, 2009)

recently, the progress of two investment projects in Brazil has attracted special attention-Petrobras plans to invest US $3.3 billion in the petrochemical industry by 2010, and Compeli plans to build a US $8.3 billion petrochemical consortium project in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. Under the influence of the financial crisis, how Brazil, one of the BRIC countries, will develop its chemical industry in 2009 has attracted the attention of the industry.

Traditional Petrochemical Project Delayed

as the United States and the European Union have successively announced that they have entered a period of economic recession and international crude oil prices have fallen sharply, the prices of various petroleum and chemical products have also plunged from their historical peaks. As a result, Brazil's largest petrochemical company, the Brazilian Chemical Group, has decided to postpone its polypropylene project in Venezuela. The project was originally planned to be completed and put into operation in 2012. It is part of a petrochemical project invested by Brazilian Chemical Group and Venezuela in a joint investment of US $3.5 billion. However, judging from the current situation, the production time will be delayed by at least three quarters. Affected by the financial crisis, the source of funds is very tight, and the market demand for thermoplastics is also very weak: this is the main reason why the company decided to postpone production. Also for the above reasons, the company also announced the postponement of a new polypropylene project in the Brazilian state of BaNa.

bioethanol is booming

Brazil can be said to be one of the earliest countries in the world to start the bioethanol industry. According to a survey of 361 ethanol production enterprises nationwide by Brazil's National Supply Company, Brazil's fuel ethanol production rose 26.45 billion in 2008, a record high. According to statistics, there are currently 320 ethanol production plants in Brazil, and more than 50 will be added in the next five years.

the Brazilian Ministry of Energy stated that dozens of new ethanol plants will be built in the future, and the sugarcane planting area will also be expanded by 33% from the current 3 million hectares. Brazil's fuel ethanol production will increase to 26 billion litres in 2010 and its supply capacity will reach 620000 barrels per day in 2012. In order to meet the market demand, relevant Brazilian companies plan to invest about US $6 billion in the construction of new sugarcane plantations and ethanol plants in the next five years. According to Brazil's recently released plan, nearly 50% of vehicles will use ethanol gasoline in the next 10 years. By 2010, the Brazilian market will consume nearly 500000 barrels per day of ethanol.

Brazil's largest energy company, is building the world's first biofuel pipeline and plans to invest US $54 billion in its biofuel and oil production and distribution facilities in fiscal year 2010.

In addition to Ben's company, international energy giants are also more confident in Brazil's bioethanol industry. BP's joint venture with Brazil's Tropical Bioenergy Company has publicly stated that it will invest about US $1 billion in the construction of two ethanol refineries in Brazil, of which the Goias state plant is designed to have an annual capacity of 0.435 billion liters.

Brazil is currently evaluating the possibility of increasing the existing ethanol production by 12 times. If this can be achieved, it can replace about 10% of global gasoline consumption. The Brazilian government hopes to increase the output of sugarcane ethanol to 205 billion litres by 2025, accounting for about 50% of the world's total output.

Vigorously Expand Green Plastics

, with the global green wave, bioplastics has become a new industry in the eyes of many companies. Brazil has attracted many investors because of its exceptionally rich plant raw materials and much lower production costs than other regions.

Brazilian Chemical Group said it has brought medium-sized sugarcane-based high-density polyethylene to the market and invested US $0.15 billion to build a plant for producing olefins from sugarcane ethanol. The unit will be put into production by the end of 2009 and will produce polyethylene and polypropylene products, of which the annual production capacity of polyethylene is as high as 200000 tons. The company said that the price of fuel ethanol in Brazil is relatively low, and green polyethylene is expected to compete with petroleum-based polyethylene. Brazilian Chemical Group also publicly stated that it has also made major breakthroughs in bio-based olefin preparation. They use bio-based butene to produce out-of-line low-density polyethylene, and have sent the product to key users to evaluate performance and environmental benefits, opening the door for the application of green plastics to flexible film packaging materials. The company also produces 100% renewable polypropylene from sugar cane. Brazilian Chemical Group said that orders for green plastics have exceeded its production capacity by three times, and sales of green plastic products will reach more than 30% of traditional plastics.

, some multinational companies have also begun to study the feasibility of using ethanol as raw material to produce green plastics in Brazil. Dow Chemical, for example, is looking forward to the future of bioplastics. The company has formed a joint venture with Crystalsev, a large Brazilian ethanol producer, and has started to produce polyethylene from sugarcane as the initial raw material. The joint venture is building an integrated 385000-ton/year new linear low density polyethylene plant in Brazil, which is scheduled to be put into production in 2011. Dow Chemical said that compared with the traditional polyethylene production process, the production of polyethylene with its proprietary Solution technology and new process will greatly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced. Dow Chemical said that the quality of the green resin produced by the joint venture will be the same as that of Dowlex brand polyethylene products produced by other Dow Chemical plants, and the new polyethylene can be completely recycled like traditional synthetic resins. In addition, Dow Chemical also plans to cooperate with Crystalsev to build a green plastic production plant with an annual output of 0.77 billion tons in southern Brazil.

In addition to Dow Chemical and Brazilian Chemical Group, which said that they have mastered the most advanced technology of sugarcane polyethylene, there are also many companies that plan to set up factories in Brazil to produce green plastics, including Belgium's Sotvay company, Canada's Nova group and Petrobras. It is estimated that 10% of the plastic in Brazil will be made from sugar cane in 2012. Brazil, the world's 8th largest producer of synthetic resins, will become the world's largest producer of green plastics in the near future.