German materials manufacturer Covestro and California-based biotechnology company Genomatica joined forces to research and develop high-performance materials based on renewable feedstocks. With their collaboration announced on March 27, both partners are aiming to reduce the use of fossil-based resources such as crude oil. These are today still the most common carbon and raw material sources of the chemical and plastics industries. Using carbon from plants instead would help reduce CO2 emissions and close the carbon loop in another move towards a circular economy.
Covestro, the leading supplier of high-tech polymers headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany, has scored a research breakthrough for the use of plant-based raw materials in plastics production: aniline, an important basic chemical, can now be derived from biomass. The German materials manufacturer achieved this by collaborating with partners on the development of a completely new process, initially in the laboratory. Until now, only fossil raw materials had been used for the production of aniline, which plays an important role in the chemical industry and is used as starting material for numerous products.
The furniture industry is a front-runner in the implementation of waterborne coatings as an alternative to traditional solventborne systems. Now a collaboration between design furniture company Rifra Milano, coatings supplier Sirca and German chemical colossus Covestro shows that the sustainability of furniture can be improved even further.
Polish railway vehicle manufacturer Newag SA coated two diesel locomotives with a paint based on renewable resources. Lankwitzer Lackfabrik of Berlin supplied the coating, which it developed in close collaboration with Covestro using the biobased coating hardener Desmodur® eco N 7300.
Covestro invests in the circular economy. The German materials manufacturer is testing an innovative and environmentally friendly process for recycling saline process wastewater in plastics production. The pilot plant for the process is localized at the Krefeld-Uerdingen site in Germany. The new technology reduces the salt levels in waters such as the Rhine and conserves potable water resources. It is being used in the production of polycarbonate, a high-performance plastic required in many sectors, including automotive engineering, electronics and medical technology. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment has provided some 740,000 euro in funding to support the project as an outstanding example of how a closed-cycle approach can be put into practice in industry. The total cost of investment is around 3.7 million euro.
Covestro, a Bayer Group company, and Reverdia – the joint venture between Royal DSM and Roquette Frères – have reached an agreement to jointly develop and promote thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) based on renewable raw materials. Covestro will employ Biosuccinium™ succinic acid from Reverdia for the production of its Desmopan® -brand TPU for use in a variety of applications, including in the footwear and consumer electronics industries.