Germany: Green Initiative BASF Partners with Trinseo to Produce Circular Styrene

Editor: Ahlam Rais

BASF produces two types of styrene with a mass balance approach – renewable feedstock based-styrene and styrene based on chemically recycled feedstock. Trinseo has secured the first supplies of styrene based on the two different kinds of circular feedstock and will use it to produce styrene butadiene rubber and polystyrene products.

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Both types of styrene are manufactured by BASF at the company’s Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
Both types of styrene are manufactured by BASF at the company’s Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
(Source: BASF)

Ludwigshafen/Germany – Trinseo and BASF have recently announced their intention to expand their businesses with the production of styrene based on circular feedstock. The enhanced collaboration between Trinseo and BASF aims to increase efforts by both companies in the development and management of styrene featuring an improved environmental profile.

Trinseo has recently been procuring first supplies of the synthetical chemical styrene based on circular feedstock from BASF for use in its Solution-Styrene Butadiene Rubber (S-SBR) and polystyrene (PS) products. Trinseo supplies S-SBR to major tire manufacturers while its PS products are used in applications such as food packaging and appliances. The first few customers have already processed the material.

“By creating synergy across the value chain, the Trinseo-BASF collaboration is an important move towards helping our customers reach their sustainability goals as well as the development of a truly circular economy,” said Nicolas Joly, Vice President, Plastics & Feedstocks of Trinseo. “The initiative is also in line with Trinseo’s 2030 Sustainability Goals announced earlier this year.”

“CO2 emission reduction and a circular economy are BASF’s paramount targets. Using circular feedstocks instead of virgin fossil resources contributes directly or indirectly to an improved CO2 footprint of subsequent products,” says Klaus Ries, Vice President for BASF’s Styrenics Business Europe. “While our customer Trinseo procures biomass balanced (BMB) styrene for their downstream business already, styrene Ccycled will be available in the near future”.

Two Types of Mass Balanced Styrene

There are two types of styrene BASF can produce with a mass balance approach – renewable feedstock based-styrene and styrene based on chemically recycled feedstock. Mass balance is a chain of custody model designed to keep track of the total amount of input (e. g. circular feedstock) throughout the production cycle and ensure an appropriate allocation to the finished goods. Both of these alternative feedstocks replace a certain amount of virgin fossil resources at the beginning of the value chain - leading to a reduction of CO2 emissions.

To produce BMB styrene, BASF replaces fossil resources like naphtha or natural gas by renewable feedstocks derived from organic waste or vegetable oils. When manufacturing Ccycled products, BASF uses pyrolysis oil derived from plastic waste that is not recycled mechanically, e.g., mixed household waste or end-of-life tires, as a feedstock, thus contributing to plastics circularity.

With this approach, Trinseo and BASF can offer products with a better environmental profile and the same properties as those manufactured from fossil feedstock. The allocation process via the mass balance approach as well as the products are certified by an independent auditor.

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