Industrial

Bio-based copolymer resin for net zero goals

24th January 2022
Beatrice O'Flaherty

SABIC has introduced LNP ELCRIN EXL7414B copolymer, the company’s first bio-based polycarbonate (PC) copolymer to help advance the consumer electronics industry’s net zero carbon emissions goals.

The new copolymer is the first grade in an expanding portfolio to secure the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Plus (ISCC+) designation. It is formulated with over 50% bio-based content from waste materials, which do not compete with the food chain, according to the mass balance approach. A preliminary SABIC internal assessment indicates that each kilogram of the new bio-based resin provides two kilograms of CO2 reduction as compared to the fossil-based alternative. LNP ELCRIN EXL resin joins SABIC’s fast-growing bio-based materials offering, which also includes ULTEM resins and LNP THERMOCOMP compounds.

The prestigious Chinese brand realme chose LNP ELCRIN EXL7414B copolymer resin for the battery cover of its brand-new GT 2 Pro smartphone that launched on Jan. 4, 2022, in China. “Our collaboration with SABIC to successfully incorporate this new bio-based copolymer in our GT 2 series smartphone has helped us achieve competitive differentiation and a stronger sustainability posture,” said Chase Xu, Global Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, realme. “The use of bio-based materials is an important selling point for consumers, who increasingly seek out sustainable products. Further, the adoption of LNP ELCRIN EXL copolymer resin has enabled our company to advance its environmental goals without any compromise in product performance. This application is the latest result of our productive, ongoing relationship with SABIC.”

Realme was the first consumer electronics brand to adopt the incumbent version of this material, LNP ELCRIN EXL7414 resin, which was used to mold the battery cover of its C25 smartphone. Demonstrating its continuing innovation, realme is now one of the first electronics companies to use a bio-based copolymer. The new SABIC copolymer provides the same outstanding properties and processing as its predecessor, enabling a seamless transition for realme. 

“The development of bio-based thermoplastics is an important part of SABIC’s overall sustainability strategy, which also encompasses chemical upcycling and mechanical recycling,” said Maureen MacDonald-Stein, Director, Growth OEM, Specialties, SABIC. “We are applying the full scientific and technical resources of the company to create and deliver new materials that can help customers like realme achieve goals such as emissions and energy reductions, plastic waste avoidance and regulatory compliance.”

Sustainability & high performance

In addition to lowering carbon footprint by reducing the use of fossil-based feedstocks, SABIC’s LNP ELCRIN EXL7414B copolymer resin delivers exceptional performance for demanding electronics applications. It uses a non-brominated, non-chlorinated flame retardant formulation that meets the UL 94 V0 standard at 0.6 mm.

Both LNP ELCRIN EXL7414 and new LNP ELCRIN EXL7414B copolymer resins help address the harmonised International Electrotechnical Commission’s new IEC 62368-1 standard, which replaced the previous IEC 60065 Audio Video and IEC 60950 IT Equipment standards with stronger safety requirements. For example, this new standard, which took effect in December 2020, requires hazardous energy sources such as lithium-ion batteries to be contained via built-in safeguards to help prevent the energy from transferring to device users.

The excellent processability of the bio-based LNP ELCRIN EXL7414B copolymer resin enables ultra-thin part designs that save weight and space, and offers opportunities for shorter cycle times and higher throughput vs. standard PC. The new material also provides excellent low-temperature ductility (-40℃) for impact strength when a device is dropped, and good chemical resistance to withstand ultraviolet (UV)-cured painting.

“Our new bio-based copolymers can be particularly beneficial to the consumer electronics market,” said Joshua Chiaw, Director, Business Management, LNP & NORYL, SABIC. “They combine sustainability with exceptional performance to address key trends for electronic devices, including smaller, thinner designs, increasingly stringent safety regulations and strong consumer preferences for environmentally responsible products. To further support this important sector and the electrical/electronics industry as a whole, SABIC plans to add new grades to our bio-based LNP ELCRIN EXL family.”

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