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Issue 05/2018

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Plastics
  • Biobased
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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1805

Polyurethanes /

Polyurethanes / Elastomers Green TPV Arlanxeo, a leading producer of performance elastomers headquartered in Maastricht, the Netherlands, has developed and launched a new family of thermoplastic vulcanisates (TPVs). The new TPVs combine Keltan Eco EPDM rubber with green fillers, plasticizers and thermoplastics, resulting in EPDM products with up to 90% sustainable ingredients. Keltan Eco is the world’s first EPDM rubber manufactured using biobased ethylene extracted from sugarcane. Depending on the ethylene content of each rubber grade, the proportion of biobased material ranges between 50 % and 70 %. After evaluating the potential of creating sustainable alternatives for traditional polyolefin thermoplastics, plasticizer oils and (reinforcing) fillers, Arlanxeo now developed thermoset rubber compounds and thermoplastic vulcanisates based on Keltan Eco EPDM with the specific aim of maximizing sustainable content without compromising technical performance. By combining Keltan Eco EPDM with green compounding ingredients the new EPDM compounds can also be used for dynamic and static automotive sealing applications with 85 to 90 wt % of its composition having sustainable origin and a technical performance comparable to standard EPDM compounds. Niels van der Aar, Business Development Manager EPDM/NBR at ARLANXEO said: “We can now identify potential partners to (co-)develop these innovative bio-TPVs. TPVs using Keltan Eco EPDM offer an excellent opportunity to replace regular thermoset rubber compounds and thermoplastic vulcanisates. These biobased TPVs can make a significant contribution to the circular economy, scoring well in a cradleto-cradle approach and helping to lower the carbon footprint.” Studies have shown that both the characteristics and technical performance of these Keltan Eco EPDM grades are identical to those of conventional EPDMs produced via Ziegler Natta catalysis and/or those from monomers based on crude oil. Today, these new biobased EPDM grades are commercially tested and used in applications, such as window profiles for busses and buildings, automotive extrusion profiles, O-rings, TPV over-moldings for automotive interior, pharma applications, sport surfaces, and most recently in the sponge rubber layer directly underneath the outer cover of the official soccer ball of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the 21st edition of which recently took place in Russia. MT www.arlanxeo.com Sugarcane based EVA resin In line with its strategy to strengthen renewable chemicals, Braskem is launching a resin made from sugarcane. Designed for applications in industries such as footwear, automotive, transportation and others, the new product is a renewable bio-based EVA resin (ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer). Developed in partnership with San Francisco-based Allbirds, the brand is the first to use the renewable elastomer, which is a sustainable innovation from Braskem’s I’m green brand that will be adopted in the new Sugar footwear line. Already on sale in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, the new line combines comfort, design and sustainability. “With this development, Braskem is demonstrating its leadership in sustainable manufacturing to the entire chemicals industry,” said Joey Zwillinger, co-founder and Co-CEO of Allbirds, “Allbirds is thrilled to partner with Braskem to bring this incredibly sustainable alternative, and to share it with the rest of the world.” “The partnership with Allbirds is ideal for launching this new renewable resin, since, like us, it is a company that pursues innovation and sustainability in its products,” said Gustavo Sergi, director of Renewable Chemicals at Braskem. C l o s e l y following the industry’s competitiveness and needs to arrive at the new solution, Braskem made adaptations in its plant located in Triunfo, Brazil, to produce the renewable resin. With characteristics such as flexibility, lightness and resistance, the resin helps to reduced greenhouse gases in the air by capturing and storing CO 2 during its production process. Innovation is a key pillar of Braskem’s growth. “We’re always seeking to strengthen our position as the leader in the chemistry of the future. As part of this strategy, this year we launched our operation in Boston, Massachusetts with a focus on biotechnology and advanced materials,” concluded Sergi. MT www.braskem.com 38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/18] Vol. 13

Polyurethanes / Elastomers Renewablysourced thermoplastic elastomers under development Kraiburg TPE (Waldkraiburg, Germany) is starting an ambitious campaign to develop custom-engineered thermoplastic elastomers containing variable proportions of renewable raw materials. The company will create customer-specific and application-specific compounds using renewable raw materials, in order to meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly and sustainable thermoplastic elastomers. Climate change, finite oil resources and customers who are increasingly environmentally aware are leading more and more materials manufacturers and users to turn to renewable and biobased solutions. However, bio is a broad term that is by no means synonymous with sustainable in the sense of a strategy for saving resources and protecting the environment. Renewable raw materials also have carbon footprints, as well as water footprints, that can have an impact on the environmental balance, depending on their provenance and the way they are grown. Factors that play a decisive role here include irrigation, fertilizers, transport energy and energy consumed for reprocessing. “Part of the challenge involves taking into account the environmental balance of the materials’ whole life cycles, including their impact on ecosystems and people’s health,” said Franz Hinterecker, CEO Kraiburg TPE. “It has also become apparent that what our customers expect from the properties of ‘bio-materials’ varies widely depending on the application – while at the same time we have to meet strict criteria regarding the materials’ conformity and performance.” In its Code of Conduct, Kraiburg TPE has committed itself to sustainable business operations and to protecting the soil, water, air and biological diversity. Environmentally harmful impacts are to be prevented by appropriate environmental protection measures, and resources are to be conserved. Based on these principles, Kraiburg TPE’s modular system makes it possible to develop customerspecific materials with different proportions of renewable raw materials. Typical performance characteristics that are also relevant here include mechanical properties such as tensile strength and elongation, as well as processability, heat resistance and adhesion to ABS/PC or PP and PE, for example. The requirements are determined in close collaboration with each customer and translated into a sustainable and cost-effective solution by our developers. Using the traditional approach, it is technically possible to produce bio-based materials with very high proportions of renewable raw materials. However, materials of this kind usually suffer from very high raw materials costs, while providing only very limited mechanical properties. Kraiburg TPE’s modular system has now enabled this contradiction to be resolved. The initial pilot projects based on the classical approach are showing a trend towards bio-based, certifiable proportions of 20% and more. Their potential use extends to all TPE applications in the consumer, industry and automotive markets. Examples range from toothbrushes and hypoallergenic elastic watch straps to fender gaskets. “The approach we’re taking is being well received particularly by customers who are looking for sustainable solutions but don’t want to do without cost-effectiveness and performance,” Mr. Hinterecker added. “Our core competencies – a strong customer focus, global presence and trendsetting innovations – mean we are in a good position to meet these challenges.” MT https://www.kraiburg-tpe.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/18] Vol. 13 39

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