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Klaus Ritter, Huntsman Advanced Materials’ Marketing Manager for Composites, Tooling and Adhesives, explains how a new and very different value chain is emerging as the drive for sustainability evolves, focusing on the coherent practices Huntsman is putting in place to rise to the challenge.
Huntsman explains that, once merely a ‘hot topic’ but now an integral driver for commercial value, sustainability is firmly on the business agenda. They say that every global company wants to be ‘green’ and there is a common consensus regarding the content of sustainability encompassing the economy, society and the environment.
Huntsman’s view is that sustainability has evolved into a holistic programme with a coherent structure, no longer residing as a new or emergent part of product lifecycles. Innovation in material science, across the whole lifecycle of development, will play a pivotal role in balancing technological advance with sustainability, especially when it comes to ensuring the long term viability of technologies which benefit society and quality of life.
Huntsman explains that their material innovations and processes are designed to respect the environment as much as possible through each step of their lifecycle. They say a global push for renewable fuels and demand for new products based on environment-friendly feedstocks are widening the scope for the bio-based, raw materials market. Huntsman’s feedstocks have historically come from the petroleum refining industry, however, the company’s raw materials for making differentiated chemicals are now increasingly sourced from bio-based matter.
The business is leveraging its core competencies in synthesis and formulation to produce a range of bio derived materials. For example, in the ranges of reactive diluents for epoxy resins, they say that Araldite DY-CNO and Araldite DY-S are low viscosity epoxy functional reactive diluents, produced using up to 55 and 85% bio raw materials respectively.
Huntsman is supplying tailor-made prefilled systems for encapsulating electronic components for automotive, telecom, lighting and general industry applications. Either based on epoxy or polyurethane chemistry, they explain that these systems are prepared with bio-sourced raw materials up to 60 or 75% respectively.
To enhance resource management and reduce waste, Huntsman recycles valuable solvents for formulation testing and synthesis. Huntsman has also developed packaging to reduce material waste, using less plastic in combination with recycled cardboard in a design that enables easy separation of plastic and cardboard, for more efficient and easy recycling.
The company also looks at ways of creating cost and energy savings by decreasing distances between production sites and its customers, while also qualifying raw materials sources close to Huntsman plants when possible. Huntsman says they are on course to achieve the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard for all European sites by 2013.
Huntsman claim that demand for advanced thermosetting resin systems that meet both the performance and environmental requirements for use in industries including aerospace, oil exploration and electronics is at an all-time high. In response to this, Huntsman is developing new benzoxazine thermoset resins that are the reaction products of an amine, a phenol and formaldehyde. Benzoxazines offer excellent flame retardance and many advantages for formulating halogen-free systems for use in composites, coatings, adhesives and encapsulants.
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