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Biomass as a Raw Material – Naturally Sustainable

Nature can show us the way forward. Using only water, carbon dioxide, and solar energy, plants produce carbon, their key component. A totally sustainable way of production. And a role model for the chemical industry. Covestro will increasingly use carbon from biomass to replace fossil resources like crude oil.

Chemicals and renewable raw materials: It may sound like an odd combination, but ideas such as producing plastic from biomass have the potential to lead us to truly sustainable solutions. Hence, chemical production is increasingly relying on renewable materials and processes.

To advance the Circular Economy, Covestro is producing plastic from biomass, thus moving carbon in a cycle. For years, we have been working to end our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce emissions by using alternative materials l in production. This way we meet the increasing interest from our customers in sustainable solutions .

Plastics made from old oil and fat

The bio-based raw materials that Covestro uses come from waste and residual oils and fats, among other things. They are manufactured by suppliers using the mass balance method under ISCC PLUS standard. Borealis supplies Covestro with the raw material phenol produced this way, which in turn comes from Nesté. Total provides Covestro with mass-balanced manufactured benzene.


Sustainable Automotive Coatings

Covestro uses biomass to produce car coatings.

Protecting and beautifying: Paints and coatings are needed in many areas of life, and Covestro produces specialized components that help improve their performance, such as hardeners. Today, more and more of our paint solutions are formulated from biomass. For example, our hardener for automotive paints. Up to 70 percent of this product's carbon content is derived from renewable raw materials – without compromising protection or appearance. In the future, biomass is also set to play a major role in formulating sustainable paints for furniture and wood processing, reducing negative impacts on the environment.

Breakthroughs in research

Covestro and its partners have achieved an award-winning success in the field of renewable raw materials: the development and production of aniline completely from biomass. All of the carbon content of this important basic chemical is taken from agricultural products, such as plants like feed corn, instead of crude oil

This newly developed process not only has a smaller carbon footprint, but also takes place under milder reaction conditions, making it better for the environment. Following this breakthrough in the lab, we are now working on developing the technology needed to scale-up this sustainable production process.

And we see more opportunities. In cooperation with the US company Genomatica, we have for the first time succeeded in producing a plant-based variant of the important plastic building block HDMA using biotechnology. A milestone for the industry. This will make it possible to manufacture paints, clothing, adhesives and plastics even more sustainably in the future.


Our overall goal is to promote the use of biomass and renewable raw materials across our industry, making chemical production fit for the future. We believe bio-based products are one important step in permanently reducing our emissions and making the chemical industry a more sustainable place.

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