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Braskem and Made In Space combine efforts for extraterrestrial recycling

News 07.12.2017

A polymer recycler will provide the International Space Station (ISS) crew with a powerful instrument to transform plastic waist (mainly from packaging) into new tools or spare parts. The new machine will be delivered by the end of 2018 to form a complete cycle together with an already supplied 3D printer.

The project is based on the cooperation of the two companies – Made In Space and Braskem.

The first one is already renowned for developing specific solutions aiming to utilize the full potential of the unique physical conditions, available aboard ISS (such as microgravity) for scientific and industrial purposes. Its AMF 3D printer was installed in 2016 for both manufacturing and research duties. AMF is capable of printing with a range of eco-friendly and space-grade materials. The new machine will recycle plastic waste into filament for the printer.

Braskem is responsible for adopting its Green Plastic polymer material for the future complete cycle model. Green Plastic, or I'm greenTM polyethylene, is based on ethylene produced from sugarcane ethanol. In addition to the common polyethylene proprieties it is designed to reduce carbon footprint by capturing CO2 in the course of the manufacturing process.

Successful implementation of the project will have important consequences, expanding potential of the future space exploration as well as making them more cost-effective. An opportunity to recycle plastic waste will increase sustainability of new missions allowing tools and spare parts "on-site" production and also mitigate waste disposal problems. Delivering items to an orbit is still very expensive and thus an ability to produce them in space from recyclable materials will significantly decrease cost of space advancements.

About Braskem

Braskem was established in 2002 as a result of merger of six chemical companies. The company specializes in polyethylene, polypropylene and polyvinylchloride as well as basic chemicals. It is headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil with 41 manufacturing sites in Brazil, USA, Germany and Mexico.


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