Coal has been an important resource used in the industry for a long time, however, we now start to perceive it differently. After being accused, along with all the other fossil fuels, of being one of the main causes of air pollution and the greenhouse effect, it now has the opportunity to show there’s more to it than all the stereotypes thanks to the commitment of the Carbon Productivity Consortium, a group of important international companies which have decided to work together in the research & development field on two fronts: on the one hand, optimising the use of their resources by exploring their full potential, and on the other hand, reinserting the combustion residues in the production circuit avoiding their dispersion and transforming them into further energy.
Covestro is one of the main protagonists of this double effort in line with the key role recognised by the company in the area of sustainability in all its facets and actual efforts carried out at each level to implement new technological solutions which are safer for the environment in order to guarantee a better future for everyone.
In 2018 we have already witnessed 2 important events which focused on the theme of Carbon Productivity where Covestro made its voice heard.
The first stage took place in February in Pittsburgh, USA, where Greenbiz event was held, which is an annual forum that involves the most important international companies focusing on the issue of sustainability. Rebecca Lucore, head of the US sustainability and corporate social responsibility department explained how Covestro is boosting the productivity of coal by re-injecting CO2, the main waste product, into the production circuit as a raw material from the production of foam for padding of mattresses to sofas and other types of furniture. This takes place in the Covestro plant in Dormagen, Germany, where that type of activity has been taking place since 2016 and where in 2017 a research project was conducted amongst 14 companies still developing it trying to understand how to use waste of steel as raw materials to produce cutting-edge plastic products.
The second stage è was a conference "A circular future with plastics" held in Milan on 24 and 25 May 2018 which is recognised as the most important European convention of 2018 on the subject of plastic processing organised by Unionplast and EuPC (European Plastics Converter). On that occasion Eric W.Bischof, Vice President of Covestro’s Corporate Sustainability, expanded the idea of circular economy by discussing "Circular Solutions in a broader sense: returning CO2 to the carbon loop".
The subject of the analysis is the production of aniline, a chemical compound with a similar structure to benzene which Covestro aims to obtain in more significant numbers through a synthesis of raw materials of organic origin such as wood or maize. This production solution, which has been implemented gradually, will have a revolutionary impact because it uses renewable resources, saving fossil resources destined to eventually run out. This closes the carbon cycle because waste from other processes, such as biomass or carbon dioxide is used to produce plastic materials.
The goal is to push the limits of current technologies to protect the ecosystem and improve the living conditions of people and the planet itself.
Research is the main tool for Covestro to achieve these objectives. It is no coincidence that Covestro has chosen to be part of the "Carbon Productivity Consortium", a group of international companies united by the idea of working together to improve the use and impact of raw materials related to coal, so that it becomes and effective lever for growth and renewal in the spirit of sustainability.