Braskem | December 05, 2022
Braskem (B3: BRKM3, BRKM5, and BRKM6; NYSE: BAK; LATIBEX: XBRK), the market leader and pioneer in the production of biopolymers on an industrial scale, has been investing regularly in new technologies and digital innovation for more than five years. The move is crucial to further consolidating the company's leadership position in the chemical industry, leveraging its innovative and competitive edge to generate sustainable impact and results.
Braskem has been increasingly investing in digital technologies to boost competitiveness and productivity, drive growth across existing businesses, and accelerate gains in innovation and sustainability. Since 2018, when the company's digital transformation began, Braskem has been making direct investments in technology. This year, around US$7 million were invested in the digital transformation portfolio. "Braskem plans to grow investments to develop and streamline its strategic, operational areas. Our technology spending spans from preparing the entire infrastructure needed for the safe and reliable functioning of our assets to initiatives that transform the industry," explained Daniel Sales, Vice President of Investments and Digital Technologies at Braskem.
Investments made in recent years enabled the company to advance in applications that make the industry smarter, safer, more independent, and more connected. Currently, digital strategies are transforming Braskem's entire value chain, estimated to generate around US$90 million yearly, making up the recurring gains reported through the program Transform for Value. The company already has more than 25 transformational initiatives. It is developing more than 70 digital products for industry 4.0 and the supply chain, commercial, research, and development areas, among others.
An example is using data science to improve decisions, such as predictive maintenance, quality control, and process optimization. Moreover, the operations planning process was impacted by the deployment of data platforms designed to help decision-making, such as demand forecasts. Investments have also been made in products that improve the customer experience using tools based on design concepts and customer experience best practices.
Improvements in people and process management
Braskem developed SPEAR, its own iterative and collaborative approach to managing the inevitable changes in work processes caused by the new digital tools. The method brings greater flexibility and collaboration to market best practices in change management and has been used to drive the adoption of dozens of digital products at Braskem.
An integral part of this digital transformation process has been promoting agile working methods and acquiring skills associated with developing digital solutions. Over 3,000 team members gained data science, agility, and design thinking knowledge in five years. Braskem has developed most of these solutions in-house, with its teams working in quick feedback cycles, which enables them to learn and adapt to changes efficiently. The development cycle for digital products - from conception to deployment of the new solution - is shorter than a year, which often enables the company to capture the benefits quickly.
"Our team members have been an important part of this digital transformation movement. They are invited to get involved directly in developing digital products that will transform the way they work or to send suggestions for problems to be solved through new technologies and acquire new skills for future work. One example is that our specialists have already developed more than 100 machine learning models in recent years."
-Guilherme Baeta, Chief Digital Officer of Braskem.
Investments in innovative businesses
Apart from investments in digital innovation, Braskem is diversifying its investment portfolio by creating new business models and incubating internal startups, developed from ideas generated within the company. The mission of these digital businesses is to anticipate market changes that affect the company and the industry in general. More than half the startups under development are linked to the company's commitments to sustainable development.
An example of betting on innovative new businesses is the launch of Oxygea, a startup hub that will receive approximately US$150 million in investments. The initiative will foster disruptive innovations through different mechanisms for interacting with startups, always focusing on sustainability and digital transformation. The hub is based on two pillars: Venture Builder, a tool for structuring and incubating new businesses, including those conceived inside Braskem, and Corporate Venture Capital (CVC), for investments in more mature startups. Of the total amount, US$50 million will be allocated to the incubation arm and US$100 million to the investment arm.
One of Oxygea's main goals is to create and accelerate the development of new solutions and products that are inexistent in the market. For this, it plans to foster entrepreneurship and innovation while strengthening Braskem's relations with the ecosystem of startups focused on sustainable technologies. The hub will allocate funds to ideas with transformative potential considering their competitive advantages.
The company also has Braskem Labs, its startup acceleration program, which reached its eighth edition this year. Its goal is accelerating businesses that create positive social and environmental impact through chemicals and plastic across diverse industrial and economic sectors. Since its creation in 2015, over 110 startups have been accelerated, and around 30% have struck business deals with Braskem or co-sponsors. Last year, 45% of the solutions accelerated by Braskem Labs focused on the circular economy. Braskem Labs is a partner of Quintessa, an impact accelerator that is present in all phases of the program.
Another notable initiative is the partnership with AgTech Garage, a hub of agrotech located in Piracicaba, one of Brazil's most important agribusiness regions. The company will connect startups with other AgTech Garage partners to foster the development of sustainable and innovative plastic solutions for agribusiness through open innovation.
With a strategy centered on people and sustainability, Braskem is engaged in contributing to the value chain to strengthen the Circular Economy. Braskem's 8,000 team members dedicate themselves every day to improving people's lives through sustainable solutions in chemicals and plastics. With its corporate DNA rooted in innovation, Braskem offers a comprehensive portfolio of plastic resins and chemical products for diverse industries, such as food packaging, construction, manufacturing, automotive, agribusiness, health and hygiene, and more. With 40 industrial units in Brazil, United States, Mexico and Germany, Braskem exports its products to clients in over 71 countries.
6K Additive | November 14, 2022
6K Additive, a division of 6K, a leader in the sustainable production of engineered materials for additive manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries, and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, one of the world's leading centers for contract research in laser development and application, announced today a collaboration to create a complete life cycle assessment (LCA) for additive manufacturing. The study will use sustainably manufactured Ni718 powder produced by 6K Additive, for an industrial component manufactured on a laser powder bed fusion machine to better understand the carbon footprint from material through additive manufacturing process and post-processing. Early results from the study will be on display at the Fraunhofer ILT stand # 51 Hall 11.
"There are conflicting views on additive manufacturing regarding its environmental impact compared to traditional manufacturing. The goal for this study is to analyse factual data to help us understand the real environmental impact for printing a metal AM part using LPBF, We also thought it was extremely important to evaluate the entire process, including powder manufacturing, which is why we partnered with 6K Additive, who has a proven method of sustainable powder manufacturing."
-Dr Jasmin Saewe, Head of Department Laser Powder Bed Fusion at Fraunhofer ILT.
6K's UniMelt platform offers multifaceted sustainability benefits like no other material production platform in the world. 6K Additive previously released two life cycle assessment projects for both titanium and nickel powders. This study was conducted by Foresight Management, an independent company who quantified the environmental impacts associated with the production of printable metal powders and specifically compared atomization technology methods to 6K Additive's. It was found that for Ni718 powder, 6K's UniMelt process at minimum delivered a 91% energy reduction and 92% carbon emission reduction from traditional processes. The independent study can be download here.
"We are excited to partner with Jasmin and her team at Fraunhofer ILT for this research. Our previous study clearly highlighted the environmental advantages our UniMelt® technology has over atomization, but this collaboration takes it to the next step shedding light on the entire AM process. The market has embraced sustainability and the results of this study will provide the tools to allow customers to identify real solutions and help organizations drive toward carbon neutrality."
-Frank Roberts, president of 6K Additive.
6K Additive is the world's first producer of AM powder made from sustainable sources and offers a full suite of premium powder including nickel, titanium, copper, and refractory metals such as tungsten and rhenium. The proprietary UniMelt system is the world's only microwave production-scale plasma system, with a highly uniform and precise plasma zone with zero contamination and high throughput production capabilities.
With sustainability at its core, 6K was founded in North Andover, Massachusetts, has developed UniMelt®, a proprietary advanced microwave plasma production system, to transform engineered materials into revolutionary products that advance industries across additive manufacturing, renewable energy, aerospace, consumer electronics, and more. 6K represents 6000 degrees, both the temperature of the operation of UniMelt®, the world's only microwave production scale plasma system, and the temperature of the sun's surface.
About Fraunhofer ILT:
With over 480 employees and more than 40 spin-offs, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is one of the leading contract research and development institutes in its field. For more than 35 years, the Fraunhofer ILT experts have been developing and optimizing laser beam sources and laser processes for production and metrology, energy and mobility, medical and environmental technology, as well as quantum technology.
Enel North America | November 21, 2022
Enel North America, through its affiliate 3Sun USA, LLC, today announced its intention to build an industrial-scale production facility in the US for the manufacturing of innovative, sustainable and American-made photovoltaic (PV) modules. The proposed facility is expected to have a minimum production capacity of 3 GW with the possibility to scale production to 6 GW annually and is anticipated to create up to 1,500 new direct jobs by 2025. The facility is expected to be among the first in the United States to produce solar cells, the fundamental building block of PV modules.
"Recent policy tailwinds from the Inflation Reduction Act have served as a catalyst for our solar manufacturing ambitions in the US, ushering in a new era of made-in-America energy, With this announcement, it is our intention to bolster a robust domestic solar supply chain that accelerates and strengthens the US's transition to clean energy. In doing so, we are creating thousands of new jobs, supporting local economies and providing stability to the solar industry."
-Enrico Viale, head of Enel North America.
Currently, Enel is evaluating possible sites for the new factory and expects to begin construction in mid-2023. It's anticipated that the first panels will be available to the market by the end of 2024. Fewer than five large-scale solar module manufacturing facilities (over 1 GW) are currently operating in the US, while annual US solar PV installations are projected to grow from 16 GW in 2022 to 41 GW by the end of 2025, according to Wood Mackenzie.
Enel will leverage its expertise and experience from its 3Sun Gigafactory in Catania, Italy, which is set to become Europe's largest factory producing high-performance bifacial photovoltaic modules. Enel intends to replicate the Gigafactory factory in the US to produce bifacial heterojunction (B-HJT) PV cells that capture more sunlight as the cells can respond to light on both front and rear surfaces.
3Sun is already a market leader in producing high-efficiency cells, breaking a record in 2020 by achieving 24.63% efficiency. Through an ambitious R&D program, the PV panels will be further developed to also incorporate a tandem structure, which utilizes two stacked cells that allows for more light to be captured compared to single-cell structures, yielding higher overall cell efficiency. The combination of bifacial PV panels and tandem cell structure offers significant efficiency improvements, which will enable PV modules to exceed 30% efficiency, securing higher average energy production. The technology's lower degradation ensures a longer useful life for modules, and the cells' high density is conducive to a variety of applications, including land-constrained utility-scale installations or rooftops.
About Enel North America:
Enel North America, part of the Enel Group, is a clean energy leader in North America and is working to electrify the economy and build a net-zero carbon future by decarbonizing energy supply, electrifying transportation, creating resilient grids, and promoting a just, equitable transition. Enel North America serves over 4,500 businesses, utilities, and cities through renewable power generation, demand response, distributed energy resources, smart e-mobility solutions and services, energy trading, advisory and consulting services, and more. Its portfolio includes over 8 GW of utility-scale renewable capacity, 606.8 MW of utility-scale energy storage and 63 MW of distributed energy storage capacity, 4.7 GW of demand response capacity, and 110,000 electric vehicle charging stations.
Amcor | November 09, 2022
Amcor (NYSE: AMCR, ASX:AMC), a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging solutions, has announced its investment of US$3 million in PulPac, a Swedish company providing disruptive manufacturing technology for low-cost, high-performance fiber-based packaging. Amcor is one of several strategic investors in a cross-industry alliance aimed at driving the deployment of PulPac's technology globally.
PulPac is a pioneering, innovation-led company focused on developing its dry-molded fiber technology for use as a viable, sustainable option for the packaging industry. This solution uses raw materials readily found globally, manufactured using an innovative process that requires significantly less resources, which reduces CO2 emissions by 80%, compared to existing processes. This cross-industry investment will support PulPac's global commercialization ambitions, enabling the company to deploy its solutions across markets and provide the potential for applications in Amcor's own product ranges.
The alliance with PulPac and investment into its fiber technology also follow the launch of the AmFiberTM platform earlier this year, through which Amcor aims to redefine the capabilities of traditional paper packaging, and build upon Amcor's extensive experience in paper and carton packaging.
"Amcor is committed to developing solutions that meet the needs of our customers, consumers and the environment. Amcor's investment in PulPac will help to accelerate the global rollout of this innovative technology, and well as support research into its suitability for future applications.
-Frank Lehmann, vice president of Corporate Venturing and Open Innovation at Amcor.
Using PulPac's dry-molded fiber technology, the shape of products can be optimized for a wide variety of applications, including some that have traditionally not been able to employ a viable sustainable option.
"With the backing and support of such world-class partners including Amcor, we'll continue to grow our offering and deploy our new packaging across the world. I look forward to working more with our partners and, through collaboration, providing solutions that are more sustainable."
-Linus Larsson Green, co-founder and CEO of PulPac.
Amcor is engaged in multiple start-up investment opportunities, supporting their journeys through the sharing of expertise from Amcor's own research and development teams, and exploring the potential for joint undertakings. Recent activity includes strategic investments into ePac Flexible Packaging and PragmatIC Semiconductors, together with seed-funding for two start-ups – Nfinite Nanotechnology and Bloom Biorenewables Ltd – as part of the Amcor Lift-Off initiative, through which seed-stage start-up companies can secure investment of $250,000 toward the development of innovative and sustainable technologies.
Amcor is a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging solutions for food, beverage, pharmaceutical, medical, home and personal-care, and other products. Amcor works with leading companies around the world to protect their products and the people who rely on them, differentiate brands, and improve supply chains through a range of flexible and rigid packaging, specialty cartons, closures, and services. The company is focused on making packaging that is increasingly lighter weight, recyclable and reusable, and made using an increasing amount of recycled content. In fiscal year 2022, 44,000 Amcor people generated $15 billion in annual sales from operations that span 220 locations in 43 countries.