Bringing sustainability to numerous applications
Environmentally friendly all-rounders
Products from Bayer MaterialScience have a number of properties that benefit the environment and meet modern-day requirements. They help to keep out the cold and heat and are long-lasting, light and recyclable – properties that are just as beneficial in vehicles and buildings as they are for renewable energies.
The sustainable properties of polycarbonate benefit a wide range of products such as solar modules.
At first, the company didn't know what to make of the porous new plastic discovered by chemist Otto Bayer in 1937, commenting: “It looks like a Swiss cheese.” Today, it's well-known that polyurethane foams, the components of which are manufactured by Bayer MaterialScience, are more versatile than any other material. From car seats to mattresses and sports shoes, polyurethanes are used in many areas of daily life.
Above all, however, polyurethanes have outstanding sustainability credentials. In the form of rigid foam, they are ideal insulating materials. Take refrigerators, for example. Between 1950 and 2005, polyurethane helped cut the power consumption of these appliances by 65 percent.
Keeping out the cold
Polyurethane insulating materials are also the products of choice in buildings, which account for 40 percent of global energy consumption. In this application, they save around 70 times more energy than is used in their production. To achieve the same effect as a ten-centimeter layer of polyurethane, conventional mineral fiber insulation would need to be 70 percent thicker.
Another material with a particularly good sustainability profile is polycarbonate, which was invented by Bayer researcher Hermann Schnell in 1953. Stable, transparent, easily moldable and particularly lightweight, this high-tech plastic is also an all-rounder. It is ideal for roofing – for example, on sports venues such as the Olympic stadiums in Athens, Greece, and Shenyang, China.
The sustainable properties of polycarbonate benefit a wide range of products. For instance, the plastic is used in noise barriers, solar modules, environmentally friendly water bottles and economical LED lighting.
It is also highly effective in conserving resources and protecting the climate in light of increasing global mobility. Components made from polycarbonate make cars lighter and therefore more economical. The rule of thumb is that 10 percent less weight means five percent less fuel consumption. Polycarbonate is particularly well suited as a replacement for glass, which is up to 50 percent heavier.
Another contribution to the preservation of the environment is solvent-free car paints, based on raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience. They are diluted with water and so release much less pollutants during the hardening process. And of course automotive is not the only field of application for such kinds of coatings.