Specialty chemicals company Lanxess says it is increasingly turning to ‘circular’ and bio-based raw materials. Lanxess’ latest product is Durethan BLUEBKV60H2.0EF. Ninety-two percent of the raw materials used in this easy-flowing compound have been replaced with sustainable alternatives – that’s more than in any other prime quality glass-fibre-reinforced plastic.
The new plastic grade is the first product from Lanxess in the new ‘Scopeblue’ series. The brand label identifies products that either consist of at least 50 percent circular (recycled or bio-based) raw materials, or whose carbon footprint is at least 50 percent lower than that of conventional products.
“A carbon-neutral future can become reality only if we start using more sustainable products,” says Frederique van Baarle, who heads the High-Performance Materials (HPM) division at Lanxess. “Our first product marketed under the Scopeblue brand represents a real solution for the circular economy. The compound is a certified premium material that’s based on sustainable raw materials.”
Focus on using 100% sustainable raw materials
One of the raw materials used in the production of this polyamide-6-based high-performance plastic is cyclohexane from sustainable sources – meaning cyclohexane that is either bio-based, recycled bio-based or produced by means of chemical recycling. The material is also strengthened with 60% by weight of glass fibres comprising industrial glass waste instead of mineral raw materials.
The alternative raw materials that Lanxess uses in the precursors for polyamide 6 are chemically identical to their equivalents of fossil origin (‘drop-in solutions’), so Durethan BLUEBKV60H2.0EF exhibits the same characteristics as the virgin material and can be processed just as easily using exactly the same production tools and facilities with no conversion work needed.
“This high-strength, high-rigidity structural material can be deployed wherever its purely fossil-based equivalent Durethan BKV60H2.0EF has traditionally been used in series production – so in automotive construction for the production of car front ends, brake pedals and oil pans,” says Dr. Guenter Margraf, Head of Global Product Management at HPM.
But developers are setting their sights on more than 92% sustainable raw materials. “We’re currently working on increasing the content of sustainable raw materials in this compound to 100%,” says Margraf. This requires ammonia synthesized with carbon-neutral hydrogen. Over the medium term, the specialty chemicals company is also planning to replace the additives used in its plastics with sustainable equivalents.