Klaus Hülsmann: From a technical point of view, both products are identical. However, in the production of the polyamide 12 elastomer (PEBA) VESTAMID® eCO, half of the fossil resources are replaced by a starting material from used tires. This turns a waste material into a valuable material that subsequently performs at the same top level.
How is VESTAMID® eCO manufactured?
Hülsmann: Material cycles are closed during production. A synthetic pyrolysis oil is produced from used tires, thus replacing fossil raw materials along the production routes. We work with an externally certified mass balance process: The designation eCO stands for Evonik's goal of avoiding the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by using renewable or circular raw materials via the mass balance approach. In the mass balance method, the proportions of mixtures of fossil and renewable or circular raw materials are determined mathematically over the entire value chain during production and allocated to the products. A neutral body verifies this across all production stages and confirms the result in a certificate. Furthermore, only renewable energy is used in production. This reduces the carbon dioxide footprint by a total of 42 percent.
What can the elastomer be used for?
Hülsmann: VESTAMID® eCO can be used for a wide range of products, from sports articles to pressure lines in trucks or medical accessories to 3D-printed high-tech elements - the high-performance plastic impresses with excellent low-temperature impact strength, chemical resistance, high elasticity and good recovery behavior.
What role do you think plastics made from circular raw materials will play in the future?
Hülsmann: The circular economy plays an important role for Evonik. Some representatives of our Group illustrate the importance of a circular economy:
"As a chemicals group, we are at the center of many different industrial value chains. Our goal is to support their transformation into smoothly functioning cycles."
"Evonik recently announced that it will invest three billion euros in sustainable solutions by 2030. This portfolio transformation will pave the way for new processes and business models, enabling Evonik to make an important contribution to a full circular plastics economy."
"The market for circular plastics is growing faster than the market for new products. That's why it's important for us to use our expertise to develop new solutions such as our eCO products based on circular raw materials. We want to accelerate this growth by developing new business models that improve the circularity of our own products, such as polyamide 12."
"Evonik has launched a group-wide "Global Circular Plastics Program§ to promote and support the transformation of the traditional linear plastics economy into a fully sustainable circular economy. The new Center for Circular Plastic Solutions leverages Evonik's unique position at the center of various value chains to bring together key stakeholders from governments, universities, industry, consumers and environmental groups. Only in this way can we find holistic solutions for new sustainable business models."