Braskem starts up ethanol-to-ethylene plant

(ethanolproducer) -- Brazilian Braskem A.S. inaugurated the first commercial-scale plant in late September to produce ethylene from ethanol in Triunfo, in the Brazilian southern state of Rio Grande. With a production capacity of 200,000 tons of green polyethylene per year, the landmark project is equipped with technology developed by the petro-chemical company requiring investments worth $278 million.

⌠Braskem's green plastics are made from CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere through sugarcane photosynthesis. It is also the most competitive of all plastics made from renewable sources. And this has been widely acknowledged by the market, which recorded demand three times greater than the plant's capacity, says the company's CEO Bernardo Gradin.

Ethylene specification took place 12 hours after the plant's start up, on Sept. 3, and green polyethylene production began a week later. The polymerization process, which converts ethylene into resin, is carried out in Braskem's existing plants in the Triunfo Complex. The final product has the same properties and characteristics as conventional polyethylene, enabling clients to process it without the need for any adjustments in their machinery.

Over the past year, Braskem has established several partnerships to supply green polyethylene to domestic and international clients who have adopted sustainable development as a pillar of their market strategy including Tetra Pak, Toyota Tsusho, Shiseido, Natura, Acinplas, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Petropack. The most common applications of plastics from renewable sources are personal care and cleaning products, food packaging, toys and home appliances.


LC Industries adds Engel all-electric presses

(PlasticsNews) -- LC Industries has purchased three Engel all-electric presses and expanded its plastics processing to Durham.

The 550-ton e-motion injection molding presses and three Engel erp sprue removal robots were installed during the summer and production of biodegradeable cutler for U.S. military and commercial customers is under way, said Mike Farmer, manufacturing engineer with Durham-based LC Industries.

LCI previously was molding polypropylene, polystyrene and biodegradeable cutlery at its plastics plant in Hazelhurst, Miss.


A fire at Formosa Petrochemicals Corp's synthetic paper plant

(plastemart) -- A fire engulfed a synthetic paper plant owned by a group company of Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemicals Corp, as per Reuter. The fire broke out at the plant in southern Taiwan run by Nan Ya Plastics early on Sunday and was not extinguished as of 0900 GMT. Though there are no casualties, but it is too early to assess the damage.

The fire follows two fires in a month in July at Formosa's Mailiao oil refinery, for which it was fined US$31,000 and ordered to close the refinery for a time.


Mitsubishi plans first PET film plant in China

( -- Mitsubishi Plastics plans to open a PET film plant in China, its first in the country, prompted by growing demand in the flat panel display market for television screens and computer monitors.

The CNY24bn yen (┬2.6bn) facility in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, will start operating in April 2013, with a single line with capacity of 22,500 tonnes, the company said in a 29 September announcement.

MPI, based in Tokyo, plans to add a second line in April 2015 and double capacity to 45,000 tonnes.

The company has been rapidly expanding its capacity for PET film for that market this year, with the announcement in March that it had completed an 80,000 tonne PET film facility in Santo, Japan, which it said is the largest single facility in the world.

The flat panel display market is "likely to have steady growth" as new plants for liquid crystal screen manufacturers are expected to come on-stream in 2012, Mitsubishi said.

The China capacity will be new capacity and not shift manufacturing from other locations, a company spokesman said.

When the Suzhou plant starts operating, Mitsubishi said its lines are expected to be the largest single lines for optical PET film in the world. The firm said it expects to formally open a sales and service subsidiary in Suzhou in January 2011.

In its March announcement about the Santo plant, the company said that demand for optical-grade PET film started recovering from the global financial crisis in spring 2009, and it said supplies were tight.

The Suzhou plant is expected to have annual sales of CNY20bn (┬2.2bn) when fully operational.


Noticeable increases in Asian spot styrene prices

(Plastemart) -- In Asia, spot styrene prices recorded noticeable increases over the past week, moving up by over US$50/ton in a week's time, gaining support from the higher energy prices as well as the planned maintenance shutdowns in the region, as per Chemorbis. The spot styrene market sees support from the higher energy costs as oil prices moved above the US$80/bbl on October 1st. Meanwhile, ahead of the week long Chinese National Day holiday, which officially started at the end of last week, some short covering activities were reported. Plus, styrene shutdowns are affecting availability in the region.

Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp.'s 600,000 tpa styrene plant in Taiwan has been shut since end of August. Idemitsu Kosan's 340,000 tpa styrene plant in Japan was shut between 29 August and 3 October for maintenance. Taiyo's plant in Japan with 370,000 tpa capacity was shut in end August. These plants were originally planned to be restarted around this week although no confirmation was received from the companies regarding the issue at the time of publishing.

Meanwhile, Chiba SM will conduct a maintenance shutdown at it's 270,000 tpa styrene plant in Japan, from H2-October. The shutdown is expected to last for about a month and the company has been running their plant at around 85% capacity since the 15th of September.