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More climate protection thanks to major reduction in nitrous oxide


Bayer MaterialScience drives forward sustainable production and processes

Nitric acid facility converted in Dormagen / Site emissions down by up to 99 percent / Global Bayer MaterialScience energy management progressing well at halfway mark

Leverkusen, – Bayer MaterialScience is driving forward the modernization of its production sites to make them more environmentally friendly. The conversion of a large chemical plant in Dormagen means the company is now able to virtually eliminate the site’s emissions of nitrous oxide, a gas that is harmful to the climate.

The innovative EnviNOx® process from Uhde was recently installed at the site for use in the manufacture of nitric acid. The process uses catalysis to convert nitrous oxide – a by-product far more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide – into nitrogen and water.

“This new process was installed in the plant with great support from Bayer Technology Services, and marks yet another successful step in our efforts to protect the climate,” explains Dr. Tony Van Osselaer, member of the Board of Management at Bayer MaterialScience responsible for Production and Technology. “It also underlines our commitment to sustainability.”

Conversion work on the Dormagen plant operated by chemical company INEOS was carried out at a cost of EUR 6.5 million and is expected to reduce nitrous oxide emissions by 98 to 99 percent. In other words, that means preventing a further 220,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents per year – approximately the same amount as emitted by 100,000 cars covering a distance of 15,000 km per year. The EnviNOx® reactor replaces a conventional catalyst, which already converted a significant proportion of the nitrous oxide.

“The installation of the process benefits the entire plant,” says Dr. Klaus Jaeger, head of the new association of Bayer MaterialScience Lower Rhine sites in Dormagen, Leverkusen and Krefeld-Uerdingen. “By interlinking our Bayer MaterialScience plants in North Rhine-Westphalia, we want to realize improvements on many levels and harness synergies in production, process engineering and other areas,” he added.

Nitrous oxide (sometimes known as laughing gas) contributes to global warming and accelerates the degradation of the protective ozone layer. At Bayer MaterialScience, nitric acid is a key component of polyurethanes, which are used primarily in the automotive industry, the construction industry and the electrical and electronics sector.

Chlorine production more eco friendly

Bayer MaterialScience also uses an innovative, environmentally friendly process for the extremely energy-intensive production of chlorine, another essential basic chemical. This is known as oxygen-depolarized cathode technology, an electrolysis process developed in conjunction with partners for the production of chlorine from common salt.

The first industrial-scale facility of this kind is scheduled to go on stream at the Uerdingen site in 2011. This new technology reduces energy consumption, and thus greenhouse gases, by up to 30 percent. Emissions of CO2equivalents are expected to decrease by 250,000 metric tons by 2020. Bayer MaterialScience has been utilizing oxygen-depolarized cathode technology for the energy-efficient recovery of chlorine from hydrochloric acid since 2003.

From 2012, the company also wants to cut greenhouse gases by 350,000 metric tons per year using the global energy management system STRUCTese®, which was introduced in 2008. Halfway through the project, project manager Dr. Johannes Eickmans is happy with the progress to date: “We have already reduced CO2 equivalents by more than 150,000 metric tons and achieved average energy savings of five percent in 22 plants worldwide.”

In total, STRUCTese® will be implemented in the 60 most energy-intensive production facilities by 2012, generating an average energy saving of around 10 percent.

About Bayer MaterialScience:
With 2009 sales of EUR 7.5 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2009, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,300 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.

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