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Comment Sustainability

Braskem partners with Agilyx, UIC on advanced recycling and carbon capture

By Mary Page Bailey |

Agilyx Corp. (Tigard, Ore.) and Braskem S.A. (Philadelphia, Pa.) announced the initiation of a feasibility study to explore the development and construction of an advanced plastics recycling project in North America.

The project aims to examine an efficient pathway to produce polypropylene (PP) using difficult-to-recycle mixed waste plastic, powered by Agilyx advanced recycling technology. Mixed waste plastics for this project would be sourced through Agilyx’s feedstock management company, Cyclyx International, Inc. In addition, this project is targeting circular PP with the necessary properties for demanding customer applications such as food packaging, consumer, and hygiene products. Braskem also recently announced a collaboration with Encina related to circular PP technologies and advanced recycling.

Mark Nikolich, CEO of Braskem America, stated, “As the North American leader in polypropylene, Braskem is committed to evolving its feedstock portfolio to leverage more sustainable input sources and is currently evaluating various supply agreements and innovative projects to drive this shift. Our collaboration with Agilyx is just the most recent example of Braskem’s efforts to more holistically address the limited availability of propylene feedstock derived from post-use plastic in the market today. Looking forward, Braskem intends to explore direct investment options as needed to help accelerate this transition to more circular and sustainable feedstock and production technologies.”

“We are pleased to partner with Braskem to advance this project forward and to expand the market for post-use recycled plastic,” said Tim Stedman, CEO of Agilyx. “Agilyx has a proven technology leadership and track record in converting hard-to-recycle plastic.  This collaboration targets a new product pathway for Agilyx, converting mixed waste plastic into the chemical building blocks used to produce polypropylene.”

In another sustainability-focused endeavor, Braskem has joined forces with the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) to develop a new route for producing ethylene, a raw material used to make thermoplastic resins. This route will use capture and utilization technology to remove CO2 emissions of existing industrial processes that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The carbon capture and utilization technology under development at UIC in conjunction with Braskem holds excellent potential for many global industrial applications by connecting the capture and conversion of waste COstreams with the production of sustainable feedstock for making plastic.

The project is in the early stages of development, and Braskem will bring its expertise in commercial feedstock and polymer production to assist in the scale-up of the technology.  Braskem will help validate the theoretical and experimental studies produced by the university. “Reducing carbon emissions is a basic principle in combating climate change, a commitment that is part of our sustainable strategy. The goal of the partnership with the University of Illinois Chicago is to evaluate a potential pathway for capturing and converting CO2 emitted by our industrial operations and transforming that CO2 into a feedstock for our polymer manufacturing processes,” said Luiz Alberto Falcon, responsible for Braskem’s Innovation and Technology Recycling Platform.

Professor Meenesh Singh, who is responsible for the project at the UIC College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical Engineering, commented, “The goal of the partnership between UIC and Braskem is to establish a fully-integrated, sustainable, and energy-efficient system that can continuously capture CO2 from flue gas and convert it to ethylene for polyethylene production. Fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal are used extensively in industrial boilers to generate steam for the production of chemicals. The sustainable operation of boilers with enhanced energy efficiency and reduced carbon intensity requires the continuous capture of CO2 and its recycling into chemicals such as ethylene, which can have an immensely positive impact on the circular economy and provide more sustainable manufacturing processes. To develop a system with the required performance characteristics, our group at UIC will rely on our extensive and proven expertise in electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction and combine it with patent-pending technology to actively capture CO2 from the waste flue gasses.”

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