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Embrapa and Braskem launch project for research into nanotechnology and renewable resources

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The partnership will conduct research on sugarcane bagasse, coconut husks, specific varieties of colored cotton, sisal and curaua fibers and agricultural waste to identify new raw material sources


Embrapa and Braskem are forming a scientific and technological cooperation agreement to identify cellulose nanofibers for industrial use from among various different vegetable sources, targeting those that offer the highest yields and best performance and are also biodegradable. The project, which will be officially launched on November 25 at the inauguration ceremony for the General Head of Embrapa Instrumentação, Luiz Henrique Capparelli Mattoso, will receive support from the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fapesp) and the Foundation for Industrial Research and Advancement (Fipai).
With an execution period of three years and R$500,000 in funding, the project is part of the Program to Support Research in Partnership with Technological Innovation (PITE) of Fapesp, which will contribute R$252,000 in funds, while the remaining R$248,000 will be provided by Braskem. The program will provide financial support for cooperative research projects to be executed in partnership with both public and private university and research institutions in the state of São Paulo. 
The first step was taken when Braskem and Fapesp signed an agreement for scientific and technological cooperation under the scope of the PITE Program, which means that Braskem can now select an institution to conduct research on vegetal sources. The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), through Embrapa Instrumentação, one of its units located in São Carlos, São Paulo, is the partner institution for this research and has a long history of working together with industry.
According to General Head Luiz Henrique Capparelli Mattoso, the agreement is an important opportunity to strengthen relations with industry and will pose a challenge for science to develop technologies that can effectively be adopted, based on the market's needs for new materials derived from agricultural resources.
"This integration brings important benefits for both parties, since it provides the ideal environment for the development of scientific research and applied innovation," said Edmundo Aires, Braskem’s Vice-President of Technology and Innovation.
Three researchers and five fellows from Embrapa Instrumentação will be involved in the study to develop nanofibers from bagasse, coconut husk, specific varieties of colored cotton, sisal, curaua and agricultural waste. All the materials will be classified in accordance with the various techniques adopted by Embrapa Instrumentação, which has been studying the extraction of nanofibers for years. 
Braskem is the largest petrochemical producer in the Americas and the first company in the world to produce certified green polyethylene. Its strategy is based on competitiveness and technological autonomy in line with its commitment to foster sustainable development.
At the start of the year, Braskem also entered into a partnership with Laboratório Nacional de Biociências (LNBio), a laboratory located in Campinas, São Paulo, for the installation of a laboratory to be used by the company’s research team. In addition to its own facilities, Braskem will also have access to LNBio’s state-of-the-art equipment. The objective is to conduct research in the field of biotechnology, seeking to develop products that are sustainable and competitive economically, always using raw materials derived from renewable resources.
Braskem has the largest and most modern research complex in the Latin America, the Braskem Technology and Innovation Center, which has units at the Triunfo Complex in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, as well as in the state of São Paulo and in the United States. The Center works to develop products, processes, applications and new markets in partnership with Braskem's clients, i.e., the plastic manufacturers that form the third generation of the production chain. In this way, Braskem adds value to and increases the competitiveness of the entire petrochemicals and plastics production chain. Today Braskem produces over 15 million tons of thermoplastic resins and other petrochemical products per year.


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