The world's largest producer of polyethylene with sales of $49 billion, Dow Chemical Company, and one of Brazil's largest ethanol producers, Crystalsev, have announced plans for a global facility to manufacture polyethylene ethylene, the raw material required to make polyethylene, the world's most widely-used plastic, from sugarcane.
Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding agreed by the two companies, Dow and Crystalsev will form a joint venture in Brazil to design and build the first integrated facility of its scale in the world. It is expected to start production in 2011 and will have a capacity of 350,000 metric tonnes.
Crystalsev commercialises products made from sugar cane through three areas: providing of services to mills; commercialisation of sugar and alcohol; and trading - purchase, resale and management of assets. The group produces 1.8 million tonnes of sugar, which corresponds to 8 per cent of all sugar manufactured in Brazil, and employs 30,000 people.
Crystalsev operates in several regions in the country through 13 companies that together form the second major producer of sugar cane in Brazil.
The venture will combine Dow's leading position in polyethylene with Crystalsev's expertise and experience in ethanol to meet the needs of Dow's customers in Brazil and what will likely be international interest.
"We are excited to partner with a great company like Crystalsev to build the first world-scale polyethylene facility that will use a renewable feedstock," said Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of Dow. "This project is a prime example of how Dow's innovation and industry leadership are creating outstanding opportunities to drive forward our strategic growth agenda in a way that fully supports our 2015 Sustainability Goals commitments."