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conference report | Green polymer chemistry by approximately 14.3m tonnes.

All Ford cars produced in the US currently use a minimum of 12% soy content polyol, with the aim to increase this to 25%. One problem faced by car makers with regard to renewable materials is the large number of cars produced, currently 4.8m a year, which means any “green” option must be available in considerable quantity. In the case of soy, the United Soybean Board was keen to fi nd a use for the oil, which is effectively an unavoidable side-product of bean production for animal feed. Braskem has exploited Brazil’s position as the



around the Black Sea, South America and South East Asia if conversion proves cost-effective.

Brand owners and retailers have studied sustainable sourcing extensively. Unilever’s global director of sustainable sourcing development Dr Jan Kees Vis has been involved in projects including the Sustainable Palm Oil roundtable and said the company’s aim is to double its size “while reducing our environmental impact”. Unilever’s plans include a commitment to source 100% of its agricultural raw materials

sustainably. At present, palm oil is the top material at 1.4m tonnes annual consumption, primarily for surfactants, then paper, soy and sugar, followed by other oils.

Unilever has put together a Sustainable Agriculture Code and wants to use products with certifi cation, such as

Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade. But

BASF is working with blends of PCC derived from

CO2 and starch based PHB as an ABS replacement

there are many other issues, such as the need to ensure the security of food supplies. Vis said brand owners such as Unilever will in future be asking questions of suppliers about the sustainability, not just renewable sourcing, of new products. The automotive industry is also pushing forward in

the sustainability arena. Ford Motor Company’s Maira Magnani, who is a reseach engineer within the car maker’s Advanced Materials & Processes group at its research centre at Aachen in Germany, detailed some of the fi rm’s notable new developments in renewable sourcing, including the use of a soy polyol-based polyurethane foam which cut carbon dioxide emissions

50 COMPOUNDING WORLD | December 2012

world’s number one producer of sugar cane to position itself as the leading producer of bio-based polyethylene and polypropylene. The polymer producer has current annual production capacities for its “green” polymers of 200,000 tonnes and 30,000 tonnes respectively. The company’s commercial director for renewable materials Fabio Magalhães Carneiro said 86.5 tonnes of sugar cane is required to produce 7200 litres of ethanol, which yields three tonnes of polyethylene. That means ap- proximately 65,000 hectares of sugarcane is required to meet its 200,000 tonne PE production capacity at present. Data from the country’s sugar cane industry

association UNICA shows Brazil currently farms more than 7.5m hectares of sugar cane, around 2% of its available arable land. Braskem’s current PE production would require less than 1% of total production. Competition between food and feedstocks is one of the challenges faced by developers of bio-based chemicals and plastics. One way of tackling the problem is to develop technologies capable of producing chemical raw materials from non-food cellulose. There have been several technology breakthroughs in the past few years in these so-called second generation technologies.

Italy’s M&G Group built a pilot plant in 2009 using its


FEEDSTOCKS BY MAIN TYPE AND REGION Source: Süd Chemie, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation

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