Innovative processes reduce CO2 emissions
Bayer MaterialScience uses a variety of innovative processes and methods to make production as environmentally friendly as possible. An overview of the key processes is provided below.
Eco-friendly chlorine production at Bayer MaterialScience’s Uerdingen site in Germany: Michael Kesselheim is checking the feed pipes.
This comprehensive energy management system is being introduced successively at Bayer MaterialScience’s 60 most energy-intensive facilities.
The aim is to reduce energy consumption by an average of 10 percent through systematic management, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 350,000 metric tons per year.
By the end of 2012, STRUCTese® was already being used in over 50 facilities.
This means that 300,000 metric tons of CO₂ equivalents are avoided each year at these locations. Bayer MaterialScience also makes this internally developed method available to other companies.
Oxygen depolarized cathode
This innovative electrolysis process – another in-house development, together with partners – is used for the production of chlorine. Four-fifths of Bayer MaterialScience's products require chlorine for their manufacture, and its production accounts for two-thirds of the company's energy consumption. However, thanks to this new technology, energy consumption and therefore greenhouse gas emissions can be cut by up to 30 percent.
Bayer MaterialScience has been using this process for the energy-efficient recovery of chlorine from hydrochloric acid in Brunsbüttel, Germany, and Shanghai, China, for a number of years. Together with ThyssenKrupp Uhde, the method has been further developed for the production of chlorine from sodium chloride. A demonstration plant using this process started operations at the Krefeld-Uerdingen site in mid-2011. It is planned to offer this new process on the global market.
Gas phase phosgenation
This process is used in the last step of the production of isocyanates, which are needed to manufacture polyurethanes. It involves the reaction of a precursor substance with the chemical phosgene in gaseous form rather than in a solvent.
As a result, around 80 percent less solvent is required and 60 percent less energy consumed. Investment costs are also reduced by around a fifth. The process is being used for the first time in a world-scale facility for the production of the isocyanate TDI in Shanghai.
Nitrous oxide reduction
In terms of global warming, the impact of nitrous oxide is over 300 times that of carbon dioxide. At Bayer MaterialScience, this greenhouse gas is generated in the manufacture of nitric acid, an important chemical raw material. As a result of modernization, nitrous oxide emissions have been cut significantly at the production facilities in Shanghai, Dormagen, Germany, and Baytown, United States.
In Dormagen, for example, the corresponding emissions have now been reduced by as much as 99 percent thanks to a new process, cutting CO₂ equivalents by a further 220,000 metric tons per year – approximately the same amount emitted by 100,000 cars covering a distance of 15,000 kilometers per year.