Petchem industry will be key to conserving energy resources – BMS

22 November 2011 11:41  [Source: ICIS news]

AMSTERDAM (ICIS)--Advances in polyurethane (PU) and polycarbonate (PC) applications are making a major difference to global energy efficiency, a senior executive from Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) said on Tuesday.

BMS's use of today’s technology to produce zero-emission buildings – through hi-tech insulation and lighting solutions in particular – is already addressing the current “megatrends” of growing population, urbanisation and climate change, said the company's CEO and chairman of the board of management, Patrick Thomas, speaking at the 10th European Aromatics & Derivatives Conference in Amsterdam.

Commodity chemicals such as benzene, toluene and phenol constitute 60–65% of BMS's procurement spend and are consequently key to the development of polymer applications.

Getting PU into new buildings at the design stage is key to achieving greater energy efficiency – it is all about the art of the possible, he said.

“It is a waste of time talking to architects. You need to talk to the building owners,” he added.

The use of PC in wind turbines was already making a major contribution to the exploitation of renewable energy, but BMS is also working on a trial scheme to harness wave energy in a major offshore project, out of sight beneath the waves, he said.

“This could be more useful than photovoltaics and wind power,” he said.

In the automotive sector, the use of PC in flagship ventures such as the glazing systems for the latest Bugatti Veyron and the body of the Solar Impulse aeroplane are bringing the message of lightweight alternatives in transportation to the public.

“This shows that you can still have fun without sacrificing energy efficiency,” Thomas added.

Media coverage of the flights of the Solar Impulse plane was part of what the industry should be doing to combat the bad publicity that the chemical industry sometimes attracts.

“The second Solar Impulse will fly around the world in five days, stopping to change pilots. The third version will go round the world non-stop,” Thomas revealed.

“We must be better consumers of energy [and] optimise our business practices and environments. These solutions are clever, but also economic. They pay back in two to three years,” he added.

“Around 4% of Germany’s entire energy consumption is in making chlorine … Our technology delivers a 30% energy saving – the equivalent of one nuclear power plant,” he said.

The 10th European Aromatics & Derivatives Conference, organised by ICIS and International eChem, is taking place in Amsterdam on 22–23 November 2011.

By: Barbara Ortner
+44 20 8652 3214

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