Neste, LyondellBasell, Biofibre, and Naftex have joined forces to create bio-based polymers reinforced with natural fibre for use in the construction sector.
The cooperation sees Neste provide LyondellBasell with feedstock for polymer production made from 100% bio-based waste and residues, including cooking oil, called renewable Neste RE. LyondellBasell then processes the feedstock into a polypropylene (PP), marketed by the company as part of its CirculenRenew portfolio. The PP is then used by Biofibre to produce plastics granules reinforced with natural fibre, which the company said it sources from near its production site and does not compete with food or feed production. In the final step of the new value chain, Naftex extrudes these granules into construction elements such as posts for fences or profiles for terrace deckings.
Back in 2021, Neste and LyondellBasell announced a long-term commercial agreement under which LyondellBasell processes the Neste RE feedstock through the cracker at its Wesseling plant in Germany. Despite going through a cracker which processes feedstocks other than Neste RE, LyondellBasell claims the polymers have a measurable renewable-based content which can be determined by carbon-14 (C14) analysis.
C14 testing determines the percentage of renewable products in a product by detecting the number of carbon-14 isotopes in products. This radioactive isotope naturally occurs in organic materials but not in fossil fuels. “The renewable content of CirculenRenew C14 is measured by an accredited third-party laboratory and stated as a parameter on the Certificate of Analysis,” LyondellBasell states on its website. “It is extremely important that the construction sector continues to develop innovative ways to combat climate change,” said Martin Bussmann, brand owner manager at Neste Renewable Polymers and Chemicals. “Renewable solutions such as renewable Neste RE feedstock for polymers can play a major role in that. The long use-phase of construction products results in the creation of a carbon storage: materials can store carbon taken from the atmosphere, serving as temporary buffers in combating climate change,” he added.
A lifetime cycle analysis (LCA) created by GreenSurvey for Biofibre reportedly confirms that the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere by the biomass exceeds supply chain emissions from logistics and manufacturing of the reinforced plastics granules.