Bayer Vies For German Sustainability Award; Explores New Electrolysis Technology

Aug. 15, 2011
Company's process developments aim to improve sustainability.

Bayer AG's process for the production of plastics using carbon dioxide has earned the company a top-three spot for this year’s German Sustainability Award. Vying for “Germany’s Most Sustainable Initiatives,” Bayer, based in Leverkusen, Germany, was nominated for the Dream Production research project, which aims to turn the greenhouse gas CO2 into a useful raw material.

The winners in the various categories will be announced in Düsseldorf on November 4 as part of the celebration of German Sustainability Day.

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The new process is currently undergoing thorough testing with the objective of beginning industrial production in 2015. A pilot plant brought on stream by Bayer in Leverkusen in February is using carbon dioxide from the power generation industry to produce a chemical precursor for the production of polyurethanes (For more information, read Carbon Dioxide Gets Boost as Feedstock).

The CO2 comes from a power plant operated by RWE Power, which is partnering with Bayer on the project, as are the CAT Catalytic Center in Aachen and RWTH Aachen University. The university’s responsibilities include subjecting the new process to comprehensive ecological and economic scrutiny while also comparing it with conventional processes and products.

In other news, Bayer MaterialScience is poised to significantly reduce energy consumption and cut CO2 emissions. At the Chempark Krefeld-Uerdingen site, a demonstration plant with an annual capacity of 20,000 metric tons of chlorine has gone on stream. It features Bayer’s oxygen depolarized cathode incorporated into new electrolysis technology from Uhdenora. The combination of the two technologies was developed at Bayer in Leverkusen over the past eight years. Provided the two-year large-scale trial is successful, Bayer will gradually switch its chlorine production to the new process. In addition, the companies will also offer the new technology to the global market.

Calculations indicate that if the technology were used only throughout Germany, it would save enough electricity to supply a city with a population of more than 1 million. This corresponds to the power generated by a 700-MW power plant. (More details will appear in September’s InProcess section of Chemical Processing -- read Chlorine Route Starts Large-Scale Trial.)

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