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Issue 01/2017

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  • Bioplastics
  • Biobased
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  • Plastics
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  • Renewable
  • Sustainable

Automotive Materials The

Automotive Materials The ABT plant has been operating since 2012 with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year. Biobased materials derived from plant residues are opening up exciting opportunities for environmentally-responsible products. As trendsetters like biobased epichlorohydrin (ECH), bio-succinic acid and lignin continue to offer more sustainable alternatives for traditional chemicals, it is increasingly important that the materials are sourced responsibly. Epicerol ® is an ECH based on 100 % renewable glycerine, a by-product from the transformation of vegetable oils. Manufactured by Advanced Biochemical Thailand Co., Ltd. (ABT) using an innovative process developed by Solvay, the drop-in was developed and commercialised because of demand for a truly sustainable ECH. A comparative Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) benchmarked Epicerol against state-of-the-art propylene-based processes from cradle-to-gate. It showed that incorporating one tonne of Epicerol can reduce a product’s carbon footprint by 2.56 tonnes CO 2 equivalent, which corresponds to a 61 % reduction of the Global Warming Potential (the sum of GHG emissions and biogenic CO 2 capture). Epicerol also benefits from a 57 % reduction of non-renewable energy consumption. The technology reduces the volume of chlorinated byproducts from production by over 80 %, while another distinctive technology enables brine recycling and drastically reduces liquid effluents. Epicerol has recently received awards for its environmental profile. The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the JEC Company have both commended it, in 2016 and 2015 respectively. Because the glycerine for the process is a by-product from biodiesel and oleochemicals production, it brings added value to a material which might otherwise go to waste and contributes by supporting smallholders. To this end, ABT works with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) to manage the impact of its raw materials. In 2015, ABT became the first biobased chemical operator in Asia to obtain certification from RSB. To further show its commitment, ABT joined UN agencies and influential NGOs in becoming a full member of RSB as well. Members are experts in rural development, food security, environmental conservation and industry. ABT sources it vegetable glycerine from suppliers which are certified and have a number of their own sustainability measures in place throughout the value chain. These include mills that fuel boilers with waste and generate electricity from captured methane. Epicerol continues to demonstrate its value as a commercially-proven drop-in. As with traditional ECH, it is a chemical used for a wide range of industries, including the production of epoxy resins for coatings, advanced composite materials and electronic components. It is also used in the production of lens monomers for eyewear and synthetic rubbers for the automotive and printing sectors. Supplied in industrial quantities to major producers worldwide, Epicerol continues to be demonstrated as the most sustainable ECH in terms of carbon footprint and process environmental performance. 12 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/17] Vol. 12

Automotive Responsible sourcing of biomaterials for epichlorohydrin By: Thibaud Caulier Epicerol Business Manager Solvay Epicerol Brussels, Belgium Biobased ECH is used for a wide range of industries. bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/17] Vol. 12 13

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