• Covestro is delivering the keynote talk at the Taiwan Chemical Industry Forum on the concept of sustainable innovation
With the increasing awareness of the importance of sustainability and green energy, reducing damage to both the environment and the human beings that live in it has not only become a global trend, but also a key driver for modern corporations to pursue sustainable operations. Covestro, as a leading company in the chemicals industry, which has long dedicated itself to promoting sustainability as well as open innovation, was invited to contribute to the Taiwan Chemical Industry Forum that is held by the Industrial Development Bureau, at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Xiaobin Zhong, Senior Vice President (APAC) for Business Unit Coatings, Adhesives, and Specialties at Covestro, was the keynote speaker. He talked about Covestro’s corporate strategies for innovation and sustainability, about how Covestro actively contributes to the UN SDGs through the use of innovative and sustainable materials, as well as industrial value chain collaboration, and about how these will help to bring momentum to the movement of Taiwan’s key industries towards sustainable development. As an example, Xiaobin Zhong discussed Covestro’s permeable floor-coating technology for the “sponge city” concept, which helps cities to tackle extreme weather and flooding.
“Open innovation and sustainable development are core elements of Covestro’s strategy. Client demand for innovative applications and technological solutions has risen,” said Xiaobin Zhong. “This is because, by replacing traditional materials with high-tech plastic materials, there is a tendency for the resulting products to become more sustainable. We believe that the UN’s 17 SDGs are a call for a sustainable world and that they will drive more innovation and future growth. Thus, we will dedicate ourselves to related R&D in the hopes of achieving these goals.”
The CO2 Project
Covestro works with experts from outside of the company to turn ubiquitous CO2 exhaust emissions into raw plastic materials. Since 2016, Covestro has been able to produce key raw materials (the precursor) from the CO2 of flexible foam on an industrial scale.
Biomass – Scientific Breakthrough: Bio-Based Aniline
In order to optimize the carbon footprint of products, and to be less dependent on petroleum, Covestro has brought many innovative bio-based products to the market in recent years. The bio-based aniline that was successfully produced by Covestro and its collaborators in the laboratory is one example of a scientific breakthrough in the chemical engineering industry. Covestro was also able to obtain bio-based materials from renewable raw materials in order to create curing agents for coatings. Apart from providing the industry with more environmentally friendly coating solutions, the bio-based coating hardener also performs well in terms of chemical resistance and mechanical stress. The bio-based coating hardener is already at the commercial production stage and it has been successfully applied to an Audi Q2 under near-series conditions.
Sponge City – A Permeable Floor Coating Solution
An ultra-permeable floor coating is imperative to Sponge City. In the Sponge City concept, this coating serves as an underground drainage system to absorb a great amount of water. It is able to cope with climate change, preventing extreme rainstorms. Despite severe weather conditions, the permeable floor coating solution that has been developed by Covestro can protect the “sponge base” and maintain a great outlook. The coating technology dries quickly and improves application efficiency; furthermore, its anti-weathering and color stability properties offer a wide range of possibilities for colors, patterns, and designs.
Low-VOC Waterborne Coatings and Adhesives See Development
Whilst chemical materials bring convenience to our lives, mishandling during the manufacturing process can result in occupational health hazards and environmental damage. In industries such as construction materials, furniture, textiles, automotive interiors, and shoes, solvent coatings and adhesives are used to decorate and protect surfaces and to bond different materials. However, during the manufacturing and processing stages, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are also produced. If these are not handled properly, then the environment and the health of employees can be compromised.
“In the past, waterborne solutions were more challenging due to the fact that their appearance and performance were inferior to solvent-borne solutions. However, being the inventor of Polyurethane, Covestro has tackled this problem upfront, launching waterborne solutions which have the same performance as, or even superior to, their solvent counterparts, thus helping the various applicable industries to connect with global trends and to contribute to the goals of sustainable development,” said Xiaobin Zhong. In the future, we will continue to promote open innovation and to accelerate the development and applications of sustainable materials, with the target of making the world a brighter place.”
Waterborne Products Embody an Awareness of Innovation and Sustainability, Adding to High-Value Applications
Unlike traditional solvent-borne solutions, the waterborne polyurethane coatings and adhesives that have been developed by Covestro use water to replace organic solvents, effectively reducing the VOC emissions and thus making the manufacturing processes more environmentally friendly. As a result of constant innovation, Covestro has provided various industries with high-performance material solutions that effectively save energy, reduce the carbon footprint, and increase efficiency. Take the furniture industry, for example: Covestro’s two-component coating solutions for wooden furniture effectively reduce the VOC of the coating products by around 63 to 92% and they have also improved durability. For automotive interiors, the new Waterborne PU synthetic leather not only looks good, but also saves up to 95% of the water and energy that is traditionally used in its manufacturing processes. In the shoe industry, the excellent performance of waterborne adhesives is able to fully satisfy the high requirements of sports shoes, while the newer generation of products is also more suitable for the automated bonding process. In the rail traffic industry, the easy-to-use waterborne technology can be used in different working conditions: its applicability and its weather ability are superior to that of solvent coatings. Overall, the solutions of innovative waterborne polyurethane coatings and adhesives are not only environmentally friendly, but they also provide our clients with many additional benefits.
“Looking at the Asia-Pacific region, countries have begun to tax VOC usage and emissions. Environmental laws and regulations have also been gradually established,” indicated Xiaobin Zhong. These trends have shifted the development of coatings and adhesives into a more environmentally friendly direction. Countries and cities have started to regulate these products as a method of controlling air pollution. Given these facts, it is obvious that waterborne solutions are going to help various industries in their technological upgrades.
With 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products that are used in many areas of daily life. The main sectors served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health, and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,200 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) as at the end of 2017.
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This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development, or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports. These reports are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to make them conform to future events or developments.