It won’t come as a surprise that one of the buzz words at this year’s Fakuma — apart from, “We’re back!” — is sustainability. All of the chemicals companies and materials suppliers, in particular, want you to know that they are working diligently to usher in the circular economy. Over the next few days, I will share some of their stories, but for now, let’s give Lanxess its due.
During a press conference today devoted to its holistic approach to sustainability, Lanxess announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with bp. The energy company will supply sustainably produced cyclohexane to the Lanxess plant in Antwerp, Belgium, starting in Q4 of this year.
The sustainability of the cyclohexane is certified to ISCC Plus, a constant in all the elements of Lanxess’ efforts to achieve “more sustainable plastics” via the mass balance approach. Bp reportedly uses bio-based and bio-circular feedstocks, such as rapeseed oil or biomass, to produce “green” cyclohexane. Lanxess will use the cyclohexane as a precursor in the production of polyamide (PA) 6, which has applications primarily in the automotive industry as well as in the electrical and consumer goods industries.
At the press conference, Jan Bender, EMEA Marketing Head of the High Performance Materials business unit, introduced Lanxess’ Scopeblue portfolio. Scopeblue branding identifies products that either consist of at least 50% circular raw materials, be they bio-based or recycled, or that have a carbon footprint at least 50% lower than conventional products. A PA 6 compound made from 92% sustainable raw materials — Durethan BlueBKV60H2.0EF — is the premier product.
In addition to sustainable cyclohexane, Durethan Blue BKV is strengthened with glass fibers made from industrial glass waste. All of the raw materials used in precursors for the PA 6 are chemically identical to their fossil-fuel-based cousins, stressed Bender. Consequently, Durethan Blue BKV exhibits the same properties as the conventional materials and can be processed without having to convert tooling or production methods, according to Lanxess. Possible applications for the material include automotive front ends, brake pedals, and oil pans.
Bender noted that incorporating 92% of sustainable materials in compounds is only the start of the journey for the Scopeblue portfolio, as the company ultimately wants to source 100% of sustainable raw materials.