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Renewable raw materials inspire innovative high-performance polycarbonates

High-performance polycarbonate (PC) plastics are used in everything from consumer electronics to home appliances to car headlights. By deriving feedstock from biobased and circular renewable sources supplied by our partner Neste, we’ve developed a certified, mass-balanced, renewable PC grade, with proven high quality.
Mass balance allows allocation of renewable feedstock to selected end products

Renewable raw materials are a viable alternative to fossil feedstocks

Polymers are often still synonymous with fossil-based raw materials. To move to a circular economy, we need to replace fossil feedstocks and increasingly leverage alternative carbon sources to close the carbon loop. At Covestro, we’ve taken the next step forward in replacing fossil feedstocks in PC with renewable materials from biomass or end-of-life materials. Working together with our partner Neste, we will replace thousands of tons of fossil-based materials with renewable hydrocarbons made from waste, residual fats and vegetable oils. Thanks to being a drop-in replacement to commonly-used fossil feedstock in polymer production, Neste’s product (NEXBTL-technology) is suitable for our existing production processes and infrastructure, and enables us to produce more sustainable products with consistently high quality.
 
This development is part of our long-term vision for a plastics sector that plays a major role in driving the circular economy forward, reduces CO2 emissions and replaces the extraction of finite resources with a more sustainable cycle of growth, use and reuse. 

Renewable hydrocarbons without changes to PC infrastructure

Our quest for alternative raw materials for PC naturally brought us to Neste, the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel fuel. After conversion to feedstock such as for example phenol, their renewable hydrocarbons can be fed into polymer manufacturing without the need to modify storage tanks or production plant infrastructure, such that production processes and quality levels remain consistent. 
 
Renewable raw materials can flow through production and storage systems simultaneously with conventional ones, creating the need for smart allocation methods to meet this new complexity. Together with Neste, we are defining processes and milestones that allow for fully transparent accounting of renewable material flows. Here, a third-party-certified mass-balanced approach enables the quantity of renewable raw materials and their benefits to be allocated to specific products.

"With this collaboration we are emphasizing our intention to make our production more sustainable, and to drive the change to a circular economy forward. Using alternative raw materials more intensively, as we are doing, is an important basis for this.”

Dr. Markus Steilemann

CEO, Covestro

More sustainable polycarbonates: a circular economy milestone

A high-performance polycarbonate made from renewable raw materials, delivering greater sustainability but without having to modify existing processes or workflows, is a decisive step in the circular economy. It also answers growing consumer demand for sustainably produced products. For manufacturers struggling to meet high-quality and performance standards for PC when using alternative materials, Covestro offers a new solution that is innovative, pragmatic and sustainable.

“The polymers and chemicals industries will play a major role in the circular economy and fight against climate change. That is why Neste is committed to supporting the industry forerunners like Covestro on their sustainability journey.”

Peter Vanacker

President & CEO, Neste

Key Benefits

  • Less oil consumption Renewable resources reduce the chemical industry’s dependence on fossil feedstocks
  • Consistent quality Making conventional chemicals from alternative carbon source drop-ins, while using existing infrastructure, enables us to produce materials with uniformly high quality.
  • Consumer-friendly Meets increasing consumer demand and societal expectations of sustainability
  • Lighthouse effect Using renewable raw materials in PC applications sets an example for other industries
  • Same performance and portfolio feasible Secure your portfolio and performance with the use of our high-performance PC with renewable raw materials
  • Claimable benefits Our product can be certified by a third- party to claim relevant benefits for selected applications (e.g. ecolabels), so that trust and transparency are enhanced.

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