Braskem wins grant to develop technology for polypro recycling

Braskem has been awarded a US$600,000 Research, Demonstration, and Development (RD&D) grant from the Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute, a public-private partnership established by the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

The RD&D project is focused on creating a new recycling process technology to extract pure polypropylene (PP) from PCR multilayer packaging waste that is currently hard to recycle.

The project is a partnership between Braskem America, Michigan Technological University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, all of which are providing additional foundational project funding. REMADE is the first institute in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the nation’s transition to a Circular Economy.

“We are honoured to have this innovative plastic recycling project recognized by the REMADE Institute, an organization that is dedicated to investing in technology that is vital for the future of manufacturing,” said Ana Camilo, specialist researcher, Braskem.

“This funding will enable Braskem, Michigan Technological University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to revolutionize the circular re-use of multilayer plastic and potentially create a pathway to divert hard-to-recycle plastic waste from landfills into valuable new material feedstock sources.”

This research project seeks to develop new Solvent Targeted Recycling and Precipitation (STRAP) technology to extract pure resin from mixed polymers, with a focus on obtaining high-purity PP from Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) polypropylene wastes for industry applications. It is intended that this solvent-based technology will be able to remove additives, ink, pigments, and adhesives, and ultimately produce a cleaner polypropylene.

“We are excited to design, build, and operate a unique STRAP plastic recycling pilot plant that will be used to produce larger quantities of high-quality recycled resins so that we can validate our resins in several downstream applications,” said Professor Ezra Bar-Ziv, Michigan Technological University.

“We expect to use this system to analyze a wide range of feedstocks and de-risk STRAP technology.”

Braskem aims to expand its portfolio to include 300,000 tons of thermoplastic resins and chemicals with recycled content by 2025 and 1 million tons of such products by 2030. In addition, Braskem seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in scopes 1 and 2 by 15% in 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The U.S. Department of Energy and REMADE selected 14 projects in October 2023 with a combined total of $9.8 million in research and development funding. Since the Institute’s founding in 2017, REMADE has launched or selected nearly 100 R&D projects, representing a total combined value of nearly $100 million.