Best Innovation for Sustainability - sponsored by Bayer MaterialScience
This category - introduced for the first time last year - is designed to recognise companies that have incorporated the ideas of sustainability into their innovation programmes and product and process developments as well as the way they do business. Entrants should show how sustainability criteria are built into the innovation being entered for the Awards.
The winner in this category for 2012 was:
SOLVAY RHODIA RARE EARTH SYSTEMS
Nicolas Barthel, Jean-Jacques Braconnier,
Alain Rollat and Frederic Carencotte
The new rare earths urban mine
With growing usage in hi-tech products and tight supply, a sustainable supply of rare earth elements is a growing concern. France’s Rhodia, part of Belgium’s Solvay, has been
looking at innovative ways of recycling rare earth metals from various sources. Its Coleop’Terre project focuses on the recovery of phosphor powders from energy-savinglightbulbs. The powder, containing 10-20% rare earths, is processed to recover a range of compounds using liquid-liquid separation technologies. These can then be re-used to prepare new phosphor precursors, thus closing the loop. Rhodia expects to treat 1,500
tonnes/year initially at plants in Saint Fons (concentration) and La Rochelle (separation and precursor production).
Shortlisted entries for 2012 were:
A polymer composite 100%-based on renewable materials
Automotive and electronic producers are seeking lighter and more environmentally-friendly materials based on renewable feedstocks. In response, France’s Arkema has developed a fibre-reinforced polyamide using flax fibres to replace glass fibres, resulting in an all-biobased thermoplastic composite with comparable mechanical performance. Arkema worked with flax fibre specialist Dehondt and extruder producer Clextral to identify a suitable technical flax fibre and ways to incorporate it into Arkema’s castor-oil based Rilsan polyamide 11.
The innovation provides lighter weight, better recyclability and a lower environmental footprint in terms of energy and water use. The new material can compete with conventional glass-fibre-reinforced polyamide 66, offering a 30% weight saving.
Hycrete concrete admixtures for sustainable
Concrete is a major construction material, and by improving its in-use lifetime and reducing landfill after demolition, there are big sustainability gains to be won. US-based Hycrete has developed an admixture technology that makes concrete hydrophobic – prolonging its life by reducing chloride and sulphate attack and steel-reinforcement corrosion. The innovation is based on the use of water-based, low odor, nonhazardous additives, such as salts of alkenyl-substituted succinic acid which, in addition, mean Hycrete liquid admixtures are comprised of 75% recycled materials. Mixing the waterproofing system into the concrete avoids traditional high-VOC surface applied systems. Avoidance of adhered asphalt membranes means the concrete need not be
landfilled after demolition.
Previous years' winners
The judges felt unable to nominate a winner in this category last year, deciding that none of the entries met the high standard required across the three criteria of economic, social and environmental benefits.
Read more details here The Sustainability category replaced the Best Innovation in Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) category.
No award was made in this category either in 2010. The winner in 2009 was:
Neti Subrahmanyam, Jacob Mammen and Sanjay Choudhary
Greening of alkaline and saline sediments
Soda ash producer Tata Chemicals has reclaimed 22 out of 30 acres of waste dumps near its site in Mithapur, Gujarat, to reduce dust generation that was affecting local inhabitants. For 20 years the dust had been suppressed by spraying with sea water, making the soil quality poor. Tata engaged The Energy & Resources Institute in Delhi which identified the most suitable plants and developed a microorganism inoculation to help them extract nutrients from the poor soil. At the same time, Tata developed and introduced patented filtration technology to prevent the disposal of soda ash effluent into settling ponds in the future.
Read more details here