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Interview: SABIC boosts EV, PV, and sustainable developments in China

Source:Adsale Plastics Network 2023-04-25
Copyright: 原创,请勿转载

At CHINAPLAS 2023, SABIC displayed a wide array of innovative solutions that demonstrate the company's commitment to leading industry change towards a sustainable future.


One of the focuses of the showcase were material solutions supporting electrical vehicles (EVs) and photovoltaic (PV) systems. Other highlights included sustainable products designed for applications in packaging, automotive, clean energy, building & construction, healthcare, E&E, and consumer goods.


SABIC showcased a spectrum of innovative and sustainable solutions at CHINAPLAS 2023.

In an interview, Lada Kurelec, General Manager of PP, PET, PS, PVC, PU & Elastomers Businesses, Petrochemicals, SABIC, emphasized that China's economic growth is very solid and has a positive trend amid many challenges. She also talked about SABIC's latest developments in the fields of EV and PV, as well as sustainability.


Participate in China's development through collaboration


“From my personal perspective, China is a huge market. We can see from the data that the development of the Chinese market has provided a strong impetus for green transformation,” Lada Kurelec told Adsale Plastics Network.


“I am delighted to be back here in Shenzhen once again after three years to see in person China’s achievements in transitioning to a more sustainable model of development,” she continued. “While driving through the streets of Shenzhen, I could see taxis with green number plates. You can actually witness that the transformation of China fits into the transformation that we as a producer want to support.”


SABIC has dug roots deep in the Chinese soil, the company calls for collaboration with local partners and remains committed to bringing more innovative solutions. That is why it attaches great importance to CHINAPLAS to engage in activities related to sustainable development.


Collaboration is one of the most important parts of SABIC’s participation in the industry. “We have always seen ourselves as a local player with a strong overseas background. Basically, we are orchestrating the trends coming out from different regions and bringing them to China and the other way around,” explained Lada Kurelec.

SABIC_Lada Kurelec_480_revised.jpg

Lada Kurelec, General Manager of PP, PET, PS, PVC, PU & Elastomers Businesses, Petrochemicals, SABIC.

Meet the stringent material requirements of EVs


In view of the green transformation in China, Lada Kurelec specifically mentioned trends of the Chinese automotive industry. “The first thing that can be ascertained is that there is a trend of electrification of automotive sector. Today, China is one of the largest and fastest growing EV markets in the world. It is predicted that the growth trend will continue for some time to come.”


She remarked that the booming EV market not only offers tremendous growth opportunities for the plastics industry, but it also poses stringent requirements for technologies and materials, such as flame retardance and safety.


According to her, SABIC conducted a lot of research last year, involving engineering thermoplastics and fire-resistant (FR) materials, not only in E&E applications, but also in improving the flame retardance of polypropylene materials.


“In addition, we are collaborating with our partners to enable battery tray, cover and module for EVs to become safer and more stable,” she added. For example, in the collaboration with Honda, polypropylene was applied in 1.6-meter-long EV battery cover as flame-retardant material.


Besides, SABIC offers advanced solutions for the lightweighting of EVs. For example, the EV tailgate made of SABIC polypropylene weighs notably lighter compared with the traditional metal tailgate.


SABIC thereby introduced BLUEHERO™ to the Chinese market at CHINAPLAS 2023, it is a new strategic initiative to build an ecosystem of materials, solutions and expertise that will drive development across the EV value chain.


Accelerate circular economy to improve product competitiveness


When comes to promoting circular economy, SABIC launched the TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio and services. In the interview, Lada Kurelec explained in detail from four aspects.


Design for recyclability is one aspect in which SABIC has teamed up with industry players to boost the application of mono-material solutions for higher circularity. The second and third aspects are related to recycling, namely mechanical and chemical recycling. The last aspect is making use of renewable feedstock.


She also shared two application examples. One is the Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse with an exterior shell containing 20% recycled ocean plastic that was certified by a third party.


“For this product, SABIC also collaborated with converter here in China. We can say that SABIC is deeply involved not only in industrial chain cooperation, but also in China's development,” she added.


The other example is the Mattel collaboration for toys. It is noteworthy that the concept design for the toys was made in USA and the production was taken place in China.


The plastic mouse with an exterior shell containing 20% recycled ocean plastic was displayed at CHINAPLAS 2023.


The Mattel toy products using certified renewable SABIC polymers were also displayed. 

“SABIC has long believed that in order to succeed in today’s global marketplace, sustainability must be embedded in the way we do business,” said Lada Kurelec. “There are two main areas regarding this topic: circularity and carbon neutrality. Driven by this belief, we made commitment for all our operations to become carbon neutral by 2050, with a goal of a 20% reduction in absolute greenhouse emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 2030.”


SABIC has successively carried out industry collaboration in recent years to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality, including partnering with BioICEP; and with BASF and Linde to develop and demonstrate solutions for electrically heated steam cracker furnaces.


Promote clean energy with advanced PV solutions


China has become one of the biggest producers and most important markets for PV panels. SABIC is approaching this market in three major areas.


First, SABIC’s wide product portfolio ranges from polypropylene to engineering thermoplastics. “We are trying to participate in the design and optimization of the whole system of solar panels, where we can make contributions in lightweighting and recyclability. As more plastics used in the panels, the more likely they are to be recycled,” said Lada Kurelec.


Second, SABIC develops suitable materials to protect PV modules. The company has taken a huge step in developing competitive POE solutions that are less degradable but more stable for PV encapsulant.


Third, in order to expand the application of solar panels, SABIC has been exploring different material solutions with partners in China and other countries.


“We have a wide product portfolio, ranging from polyolefin to engineering thermoplastics, and we offer solutions for PV applications, including PV modules, connectors, and floats,” remarked Lada Kurelec. “Our high quality materials combine properties such as pressure, temperature resistance, good processability and long lifetimes.”


Leveraging the innovative structures made of SABIC’s materials, solar fields are being built on lakes to make solar energy viable without using valuable land resources, she concluded.


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