Braskem Completes U.S. Innovation and Technology Center Expansion

17 November 2020

Braskem, the largest polyolefins producer in the Americas and leading producer of biopolymers in the world, announced the successful completion of a $10 million investment towards the expansion of the company's U.S. Innovation and Technology (I&T) Center located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The expansion project adds eight new research and development laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment for developing new proprietary technologies to support innovations in Catalysis, Recycling and 3D Printing. 

In accelerating its scientific research capabilities, Braskem is strengthening the development of proprietary technologies as well as continuing to build on client R&D partnership and collaboration programs. The new laboratories directly support the company's broader sustainability based innovation objectives and its Carbon Neutral Circular Economy goals. The I&T Center facility expansion is focused on catalysis and petrochemical process technology capabilities, expanding its 3D Printing research capabilities, and also contains advanced polymer characterization laboratories, which include chromatography, polymer cracking and microscopy analyses. Overall, the expansion complements the site's existing research and lab footprint and capabilities.   

Srivatsan Iyer, Braskem Vice President of Strategy, Planning and Innovation & Technology, commented, "The successful completion of our U.S. I&T Center expansion is designed to house the latest, cutting-edge equipment for research, which will allow Braskem to explore new avenues for growth. These new world class laboratories complement the diverse expertise of our I&T team members, and support Braskem's innovation goals, especially in the critical areas of circular economy, sustainability, recycling as well as additive manufacturing. The Braskem team's efforts to safely complete this ambitious investment project amid a worldwide pandemic really speaks to the commitment of Braskem towards technology development, and the confidence we have in the future, both as a company and as a client centric, technology innovator."

Much like Braskem's I'm green™ bio-based polyethylene (PE), made from responsibly sourced sugarcane, inventing new chemical processes to recycle post-consumer plastic that requires less energy to produce, will help Braskem fulfill its commitment to a future centered around the Carbon Neutral Circular Economy.  Braskem scientists and researchers in Pittsburgh will use the new labs to test new ways to convert a mixed, post-consumer plastics stream back into raw materials that can then be used to produce new plastics that meets the requirements of strictly regulated industries such as automotive, food and healthcare applications.

Gilfranque Leite, Braskem Innovation and Technology Director, stated, "We have a clear value proposition when we make products with a lower carbon footprint or use plastic waste in a circular fashion. Our clients and brand owners have programs focused on these important areas, yet many don't have the in-house technology capabilities to do this R&D intensive work on their own. In partnering with Braskem, we can directly support them in achieving their sustainability goals, as well as create really exciting and disruptive technologies in our Pittsburgh I&T Center."

The I&T Center expansion was designed in-line with Braskem's broader, company-wide, commitment to sustainability. The project used construction blocks containing the Center for Regenerative Design & Collaboration's (CRDC) RESIN8TM technology which utilizes a concrete aggregate replacement made from post-consumer plastic waste.  The use of CRDC's RESIN8 TM blocks creates demand for formerly landfill-bound mixed plastics and diverts plastic waste from otherwise escaping waste collection and going back into the environment. Not only do the blocks have additional strength and the same certifications as traditional concrete blocks, but they also weigh less, which helps reduce their carbon impact and lowers the cost of shipping in the transportation process.

Braskem Global Innovation & Technology
Braskem's U.S. Innovation & Technology Center in Pittsburgh is one of the largest of Braskem's four global technology centers and is one of America's leading polymer research centers. Braskem's Innovation & Technology Center in Pittsburgh has been named as a Top Workplace Award winner for six consecutive years by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's list of Top Workplaces. Of the 299 people who work at Braskem's Innovation & Technology team around the world, 55 work in Pittsburgh. Braskem's innovation structure is composed of two Innovation & Technology Centers located in Pittsburgh and Triunfo, Brazil, a Center for Research on Renewable Technologies located in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil and a Technical Center in Wesseling, Germany.

With a global vision of the future oriented towards people and sustainability, Braskem is committed to contributing to the value chain for strengthening the Circular Economy. The petrochemical company's almost 8,000 team members dedicate themselves every day to improve people's lives through sustainable chemicals and plastics solutions. Braskem has an innovative DNA and a comprehensive portfolio of plastic resins and chemical products for diverse segments, such as food packaging, construction, manufacturing, automotive, agribusiness, healthcare and hygiene, among others. With 41 industrial units in Brazil, the United States, Mexico and Germany, and net revenue of R$52.3 billion (US$13.2 billion), Braskem exports its products to clients in more than 100 countries.

Braskem America is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Braskem S.A. headquartered in Philadelphia. The company is the leading producer of polypropylene in the United States, with six production plants located in Texas, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, an Innovation and Technology Center in Pittsburgh, and operations in Boston focused on leveraging groundbreaking developments in biotechnology and advanced materials. For more information, visit