Partner in numerous sustainability initiatives
Working together for nature
Strength lies in a common cause. Cooperation is the guiding principle for Bayer MaterialScience in numerous interdisciplinary sustainability projects. Here, the materials manufacturer can demonstrate its innovative strength and contribute its expertise in delivering integrated solutions.
Dr. Christoph Gürtler, project leader “Dream Production”, examines a foam partly made from CO2.
The EcoCommercial Building program is a perfect example of this holistic approach. This global network of experts from all areas of sustainable construction was launched by Bayer MaterialScience in 2009 with the goal of integrating building design, innovative materials and cutting-edge technologies from the outset.
The respective geographic and climatic conditions in the various regions of the world are also considered. By bringing together the competencies of various suppliers and combining individual solutions, the energy requirement of buildings can be reduced by up to 90 percent compared to current standards, for example.
The initiative now includes some 50 partners from various sectors and is present around the globe. Bayer is itself making use of the concept and has constructed reference buildings in Germany, Belgium, the United States and India, some of which have won awards. The energy consumption of the ECB building in Pittsburgh is measured continuously and can be monitored live on the Internet.
Another joint project in which Bayer MaterialScience is involved is Solar Impulse – the bold undertaking of Swiss aviation pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg. They are developing the first manned aircraft designed to circumnavigate the globe powered entirely by solar energy. Bayer MaterialScience is contributing a large number of materials to reduce the weight of the aircraft, including polycarbonate films for the windows, polyurethane foam for the cockpit and carbon nanotubes to improve battery performance.
Plastics made from carbon dioxide
Bringing together different industries and application-based research activities to benefit the environment – that is the recipe for the success of Bayer's CO2 projects. The idea is to use carbon dioxide from the power generation industry to produce plastic, thus converting the greenhouse gas into a useful raw material. The Dream Production research initiative has already made great progress. As part of this initiative, Bayer MaterialScience is using use carbon dioxide from a power plant run by energy utility RWE to manufacture polyol, an important component of polyurethane. This is done at a pilot plant designed and built by Bayer MaterialScience’s sister company Bayer Technology Services at the Leverkusen site. The first products based on CO2 are scheduled for market launch in 2015.
Scientists from RWTH Aachen University are conducting an in-depth investigation of the ecological balance sheet of the new process. Initial results support the positive results expected – that is, real carbon dioxide savings in the end. Another more long-term initiative, named CO2rrect, aims to harness the surpluses generated by volatile wind power to process CO2. The Siemens Group is also a partner in this project.