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chemicals

Bio-Based Chemical Tool Aims to Advance Circular Economy

chemicalsAn online tool to track the use of bio-based raw materials in products has been launched as a pilot by AkzoNobel, Advanced Biochemical and EY. The partners say it will be the first tool ever to use e-certification to track bio-based content along the value chain.

Many chemicals can be made either from fossil feedstock or bio-based raw materials, such as vegetable oils or sugars, but it is difficult to verify how much of each has been used. The new tool aims to solve this problem by verifying exactly how much of a product is made from bio-based raw materials. This will make it easier for producers to choose more sustainable products and move towards a more circular economy, the companies say.

Bio-based raw materials are certified at the start of the supply chain. Companies can then transfer these via an online platform, which automatically keeps track of the bio-based content of any products made from them. The partners say this approach negates the need for separate, external certification further down the supply chain, giving producers quick insight into the bio-based content of their products.

Epicerol will be the first chemical to be tracked throughout the supply chain. The bio-based epichlorohydrin (ECH) is produced by ABT and is already used in AkzoNobel’s sustainable epoxy coatings.

Following the pilot phase, the partners are looking to expand the tool to other chemicals, such as dimethylether, which is used as a propellant in deodorant cans. The system provides sufficient flexibility so that it can be used by the industry across a wide range of products, according to the companies. The partners believe this platform provides a robust and reliable answer to certification and assurance for bio-based content as it enables transparency and reliability across the value chain by means of a robust audit trail.

“The tool works like a virtual marketplace for the industry,” said Roel Drost, senior manager climate change & sustainability at EY, in a statement. “Companies can sign up and exchange different types of bio-based material certificates, ranging from base ingredients to finished products. This has enabled us to turn the complexity of the chemical industry into an easy and cost-effective tool for bio-based products. Hence, we want to quickly make it available to other supply chains to get value across the industry.”

The bio-chemical tool announcement follows several recent advances in bio-based and sustainable chemical research and development.

Last week BASF and Hewlett Packard Enterprise said they are partnering to develop a supercomputer for industrial chemical research — a move that aims to make it cheaper and faster to bring safer chemicals to market.

This week automotive supplier Denso said Toyota is using its new plant-based plastics in Toyota’s navigation systems.

The global renewable chemicals market will reach $84.3 billion by 2020, up from $49 billion in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 11.47 percent, according to a Research and Markets report.

 

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