Climate change, demographic developments and feeding the world’s population are major global challenges, which is why contributions to issues such as energy efficiency, a circular economy and resource conservation are at the very top of the political agenda. Bayer MaterialScience is presenting innovative developments in polyurethane that answer these challenges at the UTECH 2015 trade show in Maastricht, Netherlands, from April 14 - 16. These material solutions presented offer society value-added and simultaneously reduce its ecological footprint.

With its theme for the event, "Do You Think In Life Cycles?", the company demonstrates its commitment to a circular economy and invites visitors and partners to participate in joint development. The exhibits at Stand 1450 are supported by technical presentations by MaterialScience experts at the accompanying UTECH Conference.

"If we want to close the various material cycles effectively in both economic and ecological terms, we must evaluate the entire life cycle and examine it for potential improvements," said Hermann-Josef Dörholt, manager of the Bayer MaterialScience stand, speaking before journalists. "That begins in our own production operations, which we have geared for years to energy- and resource-saving processes. Our oxygen depolarized cathode technology for chlorine synthesis and our gas-phase technology for producing the isocyanate TDI are two examples of best-in-class processes in our industry."

Independence from fossil raw materials one step at a time

In using CO2 to synthesize premium polyurethane products, the company has further demonstrated how this greenhouse gas can be returned to the material cycle. MaterialScience is stepping up the use of renewable raw materials in other areas as well and gradually moving away from fossil raw materials.

On the way to the customer, what counts most is safe and efficient transportation. Sophisticated logistics with minimum risk to man and the environment therefore play a critical role at Bayer MaterialScience. This includes the optimization of truck utilization and the targeted use of intermodal transport chains, as well as inspecting customer tank farms and processing facilities.

Good ecobalance for polyurethane thermal insulation

Developments in thermal insulation for buildings and the cold chain will help to fulfill even the strict requirements of the EU’s future circular economy program. The company is continuing its intensive efforts to further increase insulating performance with the goal of reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions, and cutting costs for consumers. Thanks to their good durability, polyurethanes can fulfill these requirements admirably over a long period of time.

"Rigid polyurethane foam saves up to 70 times more energy than is required to manufacture, use and dispose of it," said Klaus Steinborn, another stand manager from Bayer MaterialScience. "Together with its high insulating performance, this results in an ecobalance that compares favorably with other materials."

Used in the cold chain, these rigid foams contribute to safeguarding global food supplies by preserving foodstuffs and keeping them fresh on their way from the field to the consumer’s table. At the end of the cold chain are modern refrigeration devices. Bayer MaterialScience offers an innovative solution with the Microcell system. Thanks to its 40 percent smaller pore size, it improves the insulating performance of refrigerators by another 10 percent.

Focus on efficient waste treatment

A comprehensive life cycle assessment must also include the reuse or recycling of materials at the end of their useful life in order to ideally close the material cycles. Bayer MaterialScience is working with industry partners to analyze all the possible options for reusing and recycling polyurethanes, including thermal recycling. Particularly for products with a high calorific value, thermal recycling is often an ecologically sound solution.

Besides technical issues, efficient waste management is one of the challenges facing society as a whole along the road to a more thorough implemention of a circular economy.

 

About Bayer MaterialScience

With 2014 sales of EUR 11.7 billion, Bayer MaterialScience 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 used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2014 Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,200 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company. Find more information at http://www.materialscience.bayer.com.