As the saying goes, many roads lead to Rome. We also take different paths when developing sustainable polymers and solutions for our customers. Our main focus is on reducing harmful climate gases, mainly carbon dioxide. For this reason, Evonik is building a new gas power and steam turbine plant at the Marl Chemical Park that will reduce CO2 emissions from all Evonik production facilities worldwide by 20%. Commissioning is scheduled for 2022. Another project, for example, involves the artificial photosynthesis of high-value specialty chemicals from CO2. Here, a test plant was launched at the end of 2019.
In the development of our plastics, we pursue two paths, depending on which is the more sustainable, taking into account the quality requirements of the end product: the use of biobased resources or production with sustainable energy, or a mix of both.
High performance polymers coming from nature
Under the name VESTAMID® Terra Evonik markets polyamides 610 and 1010 based on renewable raw materials: The monomers are obtained partly or entirely from castor oil, a raw material that is neither foodstuff nor animal feed and whose cultivation does not compete with that of food crops.
Unlike other bio-based polymers, the biopolyamides 610 and 1010 produced by Evonik are high-performance polymers. They are not disposable products, there are no restrictions on their service life, and they do not give rise to any technical weaknesses at all. On the contrary, biopolyamides are long-lived, durable and can be used in demanding applications, e. g. in the sports industry. The products are typically applied in injection molding, fibers, powders, extrusion, and films.
Biomass and green power
The second way to reduce carbon dioxide is through the use of biomass to produce molecular building blocks, which are synthesized through various steps into monomers and ultimately our polymers. In the process, we use renewable energy sources such as biogas, for the purification of which Evonik has developed a special membrane technology.