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Covestro’s plant-based resins offer sustainable solutions, replace fossil fuel

Petrochemical industry | 07 Apr 2022 15:48 IST | Polymerupdate.com

Covestro, one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-quality polymers, has introduced a plant-based version of HMDA (hexamethylene diamine), a key precursor for several coatings, adhesives, and a widely used type of nylon (nylon-6,6).

To produce HMDA in mass volume, Covestro has tied up with a pioneering biotech company Genomatica, a California (United States) that develops and licenses biological manufacturing processes for the production of intermediate and basic chemicals. With a total consumption estimated at around 2 million tonnes, HMDA was manufactured exclusively from fossil feedstocks until now.

This new process is expected to be able to produce large-quality material in the near future, helping the automotive, construction, furniture, and textile industries become that much more sustainable going forward. The major aim of the company with the production of HMDA through the biotechnology route is to reduce fossil fuel consumption and promote a circular economy.

"Our partnership on this innovative technology allows us to significantly reduce our dependence on fossil feedstocks. With a purely plant-based HMDA, we can significantly advance our corporate objective of CO2-neutral production," said Martin Vlak, Head of Sales & Market Development – North America Coatings & Adhesives at Covestro.

Several such plant-based resins and feedstock manufactured by Covestro’s sustainable products were on display at the American Coatings Show 2022 in Indianapolis, a three-day event being organized between April 5 and 7, 2022 at Indiana Convention Centre, Indiana, United States.

The company has put Desmodur® eco N 7300, an isocyanate clearcoat hardener, on display whose carbon content is 70 percent and is sourced from biomass instead of fossil fuels. This sourcing reduces the carbon footprint of the hardener by around 30 percent, compared to conventional solutions using the same application process, with no compromise in performance or quality.

Covestro’s plant-based version of HMDA helps pave the way for a shift to the circular economy. The company’s 2021 acquisition of the Resins & Functional Materials (RFM) business of Dutch company Royal DSM was a major driver of this year’s offerings, significantly strengthening the efforts of Covestro in sustainable solutions and cementing its position as a leading supplier of sustainable coatings and adhesives.

With more than 50 years of manufacturing experience, Covestro has also played a key role in this development. Going forward, solutions sourced from sustainable materials will be a key component of the company’s overall portfolio. Sustainable coating resins represent an attractive growth market that aligns with the ultimate goal of the company to move to a fully circular economy, meeting the world’s materials and coatings needs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Covestro is excited to collaborate with its customers on the journey to the circular economy as new material solutions transform urbanization, mobility, and their impact on climate change.

In yet another innovation, Covestro has displayed partially bio-based resin for high-traffic flooring. A third product, Decovery®, is an up to 52 percent partially plant-based flooring resin. Extensive testing has shown that Decovery® has equal performance in durability, chemical resistance, and wear resistance when compared with current fossil-based products in the market.

"The emerging line of sustainable and plant-based products of Covestro is the result of our long-term goal of becoming the leading provider of sustainable coating solutions," said Vlak.

"Our customers are increasingly asking for more environmentally compliant products based on renewable raw materials without compromising functionality. But it’s about more than growth from a margin perspective. It’s about growing sustainably with the right kind of product innovation that brings us to carbon-neutral production. A truly circular economy is within our reach if we remain committed to this level of focus and innovation," Vlak added.

With its innovative products, processes, and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building, and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.

The company is committed to becoming fully circular and aims to become climate neutral by 2035. Covestro generated sales of around EUR 15.9 billion in fiscal 2021.

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