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06/02/2014 | Bayer MaterialScience successful with global efficiency system: Significantly lower energy consumption in chemical production

Bayer MaterialScience, a leading materials manufacturer, will in the future need far less energy for the majority of its global production. This is being made possible by a home-grown energy management system. Its introduction has now been completed. It enables the individual consumption of the production plants to be optimally controlled and reduced by an average of a tenth, and also brings about considerable reductions in CO2 emissions. The system, which is called STRUCTese®, can also be used by other companies under license.

Bayer MaterialScience has been introducing the new system in stages since 2008. It is now installed in 60 plants in Europe, Asia and America, where most of the energy in the company is consumed. Most recently, a plant at the Chinese site of Shanghai was equipped with the system. The facility produces the chemical TDI, a key precursor for flexible polyurethane foam.

Much reduced CO2 emissions
Overall, with the help of STRUCTese®, more than 1.2 million megawatt hours of primary energy – i.e. energy from natural sources – is already being saved every year. In parallel with this, emissions of carbon dioxide have fallen by an average of some 360,000 metric tons a year. By 2020, this figure should rise through the management system to around 750,000 metric tons. 

In total, Bayer MaterialScience aims to reduce the CO2 emissions per metric ton of material sold by 40 percent, and at the same time increase energy efficiency (also compared with 2005) by 30 percent.

“We consider ourselves to be pioneers in the key field of energy efficiency and are continuously developing new methods for saving electricity and conserving resources,” said Dr. Tony Van Osselaer, Bayer MaterialScience Board member responsible for production. “Bayer MaterialScience thus sees itself as a driving force on the way to a more sustainable future.” STRUCTese® could also help boost the change in Germany's energy policy – which is heavily focused on energy efficiency – if the system were used to a wider extent by the rest of the chemical industry.

Adjusting to optimal consumption
With the help of the control system, the actual energy consumption of a plant is permanently documented and can be adjusted to an individual optimum. The method, which is certified to DIN 50001, is regarded by the DQS auditing company as one of the best conceived and best implemented energy management systems in the chemical industry. It is also already being used outside Bayer MaterialScience.

Bayer MaterialScience intends, after the conclusion of the first introductory phase, to itself implement STRUCTese® in other plants. “Among other things, we aim to use our system in a new and particularly environmentally friendly large-scale TDI production facility, which we intend to start up at the end of 2014 at our Dormagen site,” explained energy manager Matthias Böhm. There, the company also uses a new production process that lowers energy consumption by 60 percent. Bayer MaterialScience also developed this vapor phase technology itself.

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Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business e.V.

econsense is an association of leading, globally active companies and organisations of German business specializing in the area of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Founded in 2000 on the initiative of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the goal of econsense is to provide a dialogue platform and think tank, with the dual objectives of advancing sustainable development in business and assuming social responsibility.