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Case study

Makrolon® RE from mass-balanced biowaste and residual materials for lighting applications

Finding biologically sourced materials that meet performance requirements for lighting can be a challenge. Covestro is working with Elkamet and Megalight Systems to bring these materials to customers and make lighting appliances more sustainable.
Task

Finding more sustainable, high-performance lighting materials

Elkamet is an owner-managed manufacturer of lighting profiles, tubes, and technical profiles for the lighting industry. The company has a focus on sustainability and aims to reduce the environmental impact of its products. For this reason, it continuously seeks out plastics made from alternative sources (such as recycled or biological materials) for use in its products. However, it is difficult to find polymers that meet the lighting industry’s technical and optical requirements while also being both derived from biomass and recyclable.
 
Megalight Systems, one of Elkamet’s customers, is also searching for more sustainable solutions. The Finnish company has designed and manufactured worksite illumination systems for more than 30 years. Its products are lightweight, with a compact structure designed to withstand particularly high mechanical strain. Accordingly, Megalight Systems needs solutions that deliver brilliant lighting performance at high safety standards.

Sustainability is very important to Elkamet. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to offer our customers sustainable products. Makrolon® RE is a perfect way to create sustainable products. The technical and optical properties of conventional Makrolon® are 100% retained, it’s incredibly easy to work with, and customers love it.

Josia Dillmann

Sales Extrusions for Technical Applications, Elkamet

Challenge

Sourcing a low-CO₂ plastic suitable for tough lighting applications

For its product to have a low carbon footprint, Elkamet needed an engineering plastic based on attributed biological waste and residues. At the same time, the material needed to be suitable for luminaires with very high technical and optical requirements.

In particular, lighting profiles made of transparent plastic need to meet high standards for worksite lighting appliances. Accordingly, Megalight Systems needed lightweight, impact-resistant luminaires for brilliant lighting performance.

We’re looking for lighting profiles that are made of biomass or recycled materials and fulfill all quality, durability, and safety requirements. Makrolon® RE is a great success in our worksite lighting appliances, combining sustainability with performance that meets our every need.

Sam Jansén

CEO, Megalight Systems

Solution

Covestro’s low carbon footprint Makrolon® RE

In Covestro’s Makrolon® RE, Elkamet found a solution that meets requirements for both bio-circularity and high performance. Makrolon® RE offers the required technical properties, easy processability, and a content share attributed to sustainable biological sources by mass balance. The chosen Makrolon® RE grade can enable a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. For some applications, including lighting, Covestro now also offers polycarbonates that are climate neutral* from cradle to factory gate.

Because Makrolon® RE has identical material properties to fossil-based equivalents, it can be used as a drop-in solution for transparent standard polycarbonates. It is suitable for luminaires with very high technical and optical requirements.

Climate neutral* refers to our polycarbonates which contain ISCC PLUS-certified raw materials obtained from mass-balanced biowaste and residual materials and produced using renewable energy. As a result, their carbon footprint could potentially be reduced to zero.

Case study 1: Elkamet

Trials showed that Makrolon® RE could be easily processed at Elkamet’s facilities to produce lighting profiles distributed under the elkaCIRCLE brand.

In this application, Elkamet used a Makrolon® RE extrusion grade with an attributed bio-circular share of more than 70%.

This grade is well suited to these types of lighting profiles. Covestro also has several other Makrolon® RE grades for the lighting industry that are suitable for injection molding, extrusion, and 3D printing.

With Makrolon® RE, Elkamet was able to produce light profiles with the same high-performance properties as their standard products, but with a significantly better sustainability profile. In particular, the lighting profiles made with Makrolon® RE have a CO2-e footprint over 5 tons lower per 10,000 meters than conventional lighting profiles.

Elkamet products made with more sustainable materials


Case study 2: Megalight Systems


The lighting profiles made from Makrolon® RE were also tested by Megalight Systems. No difference was found between the more sustainable light profiles and their conventional equivalents. This shows that products manufactured with Makrolon® RE are suitable for worksite lighting appliances with high technical requirements. Megalight Systems has therefore found a reliable and more sustainable material solution for its product series: a breakthrough for the lighting industry.
Megalight LED 360° Standard worksite lighting appliances

Makrolon® RE is the ideal material solution for making lighting applications more sustainable. Together with Elkamet and Megalight Systems, we’ve demonstrated that Makrolon® RE, with more than 70% bio-circular attributed feedstock, saves fossil resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions while meeting the high performance requirements for lighting applications.

Dr. Niklas Meine

Marketing, Electrical & Electronics EMEA, Covestro

Key Benefits

  • Reduced CO2 footprint The Makrolon® RE grade used in this application has a very low carbon footprint and can even be climate neutral*,
  • Saves fossil resources Makrolon® RE supports the transition to renewable resources by replacing crude-oil-based feedstocks with attributed bio-circular feedstocks, via mass balance
  • Easy to process Makrolon® RE lighting grades have identical high-performance properties to standard Makrolon® lighting grades
  • Drop-in solution Switching from conventional Makrolon® to Makrolon® RE can be done immediately without pre-testing and qualification
  • Transparent for brilliant light Makrolon® RE is suitable for luminaires with very high technical and optical requirements

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