Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Biobased Product Markets – Part II


In a previous blog (Biobased Product Markets – Part I; May 29, 2018 – read below), I wrote about the need for city procurement departments to provide data on the carbon dioxide emission reductions that the departments have obtained through the cities’ use of biobased products.

Many, perhaps most, biobased products available for purchase by city procurement departments (and other customers of biobased products) are based upon the research and product development of chemical companies.  Here are some of the biobased products that have been developed by chemical companies:


when used
how used
chemical company
product function
cleaning
various
DowDupont
cleaner solvents
cleaning
various
Eastman
disposable wipe fibers
cleaning
various
Henkel
surfactants
cleaning
various
Kaneka
surfactants
construction
asphalt
ADM
additives
construction
asphalt
Arkema
additives
construction
asphalt
Cargill
additives
construction
asphalt
Kraton
additives
construction
concrete
DowDupont
sealants
construction
fixtures
Ashland
resins
construction
insulation
Convestro
foam
construction
paint
PPG
additives, resins
construction
timber
Convestro
resins/fibers
construction
various
DowDupont
adhesives/sealants
indoor interiors
carpets
Rennovia
nylon
indoor interiors
chairs
BASF/Corbion
polyurethane foam
indoor interiors
chairs
Cargill
polyurethane foam
indoor interiors
chairs
Covestro
polyurethane foam
indoor interiors
chairs
DowDupont
polyurethane foam
indoor interiors
furniture
Covestro
coating
indoor interiors
walls
Ashland
plywood/particle board
landscaping
gardens
Acme-Hardesty
herbicides
landscaping
gardens
Marrone Bio Innovation
herbicides
landscaping
gardens
Mitsui
herbicides
office
packaging
Acme-Hardesty
plastics
office
packaging
Mitsubishi
plastics
vehicles
body
Arkema
plastics
vehicles
body
DowDupont
plastics
vehicles
body
DSM
plastics
vehicles
body
Teijin
plastics
vehicles
coatings
 BASF Covestro
hardener
vehicles
interiors
BASF
polyurethane foam
vehicles
tires
DowDupont Goodyear
bio isoprene
work clothes
various
Archroma
various
work clothes
various
Arkema
various
work clothes
various
BASF
polyamides
work clothes
various
DowDupont
various
work clothes
various
Virent
polyester


A 2015 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report (click here to read the report – PDF file) provides details on the biobased products marketplace in the United States, including the Federal Government’s procurement program for buying biobased products.  Although the report indicates that key environmental benefits of the manufacture and use of biobased products are the reduction in fossil fuel use and associated greenhouse gas emissions, amounts of these benefits and reductions are not available.

In Part I of this two-part series (see above for reference to Part I), I indicated the lack of measured results for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions caused by the biobased product use of the biggest US city procurement departments.   It seems to me that this lack is missing a huge opportunity to obtain useful data on how well cities are doing in reducing carbon dioxide emissions (estimates are that the world’s cities cause 70% of carbon dioxide emissions).  As indicated by the 2015 USDA report, referenced above, such data is not available in the literature.   Perhaps if such data was available, the data would lead to more innovation and a significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert – May 2018


The purpose of this blog is to identify chemical and metal shortages reported on the Internet.  The sources of the information reported here are primarily news releases issued on the Internet.  The issue period of the news releases is May 2018.

Section I below lists those chemicals and metals that were on the previous month’s Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list and continue to have news releases indicating they are in short supply.  Click here to read the April 2018 Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list.

Section II lists the new chemicals and metals (not on the April alert).  Also provided is some explanation for the shortage and geographical information.  This blog attempts to list only actual shortage situations – those shortages that are being experienced during the period covered by the news releases.  Chemicals and metals identified in news releases as only being in danger of being in short supply status are not listed.

Section I.  

None
     
Section II.   Shortages Reported in May not found on the Previous Month’s List

Acetic acid: United States, Asia; supply not keeping up with demand
Hydrogen peroxide: Pakistan; production not keeping up with demand
Photoinitiators used with inks: Europe; supply not keeping up with demand
Vinyl acetate monomer: United States, Europe; production not keeping up with demand

Reasons for Section II shortages can be broadly categorized as: 

1.  Mining not keeping up with demand: none
2.  Production not keeping up with demand: hydrogen peroxide; vinyl acetate monomer
3.  Government regulations: none
4.  Sources no longer available: none
5.  Insufficient imports:  none
6.  Supply not keeping up with demand:  acetic acid; photoinitiators used with inks

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Biobased Product Markets – Part 1


Creating a “demand market” for biobased products could be very useful in achieving more acceptance and use of biobased products.   In current “free markets”, fossil fuel-based products usually win out in competition with biobased products because fossil fuel-based products cost much less to produce, and therefore have much lower sales prices.   Greater use of biobased products, versus fossil-based products, would benefit society a lot by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.  Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is needed for society’s benefit, based on the conclusion that such emissions are causing undesirable climate changes.  Undesirable climate changes are likely to get worse as carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase.

Cities account for 70% of global carbon dioxide emissions.  Carbon dioxide emissions are a major contributor to the increasing global average temperature rises and to the changes that are occurring in global climate.  Therefore, city procurement programs to reduce carbon dioxide emissions could be of the highest importance in reducing global carbon dioxide emissions.    And because of society’s (hoped-for) interest in reductions of carbon dioxide emissions, creating a demand market for biobased products through city governments is warranted

Cities purchase billions of dollars (on a global basis) of materials every year.  By purchasing materials that are made from biobased raw materials, versus fossil fuel-based materials, a significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions can be obtained.  Many cities have procurement rules that provide guidance that environmentally-friendly materials should be purchased, when available.   But at least two questions exist:

1. Are sufficient efforts being made to ensure that biobased materials are being identified and purchased and
2. How much are carbon dioxide emissions being (could be) reduced from the use of these materials.

I visited the websites of twenty-two of the largest United States cities to determine which ones have procurement programs that are committed to purchasing environmental friendly materials.   I found that nine of the twenty-two (41%) have such commitments.  But, unfortunately, none of the nine cities so far provide measured results on the success of such commitments.

Performance measurements are vital in understanding the effectiveness of a city’s procurement program in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.  Here are some actions that I believe are needed for cities to be able to implement effective measurement programs:

1.      A standards organization, such as GRI (click here to go to GRI’s website), which has been instrumental in companies measuring and reporting on sustainability efforts, needs to be established for city programs to report on environmental (sustainability) efforts.  Cities alone cannot be expected to come up with such standards for measuring and reporting sustainability efforts.  Standards need to be established that all cities can respond to so that cities can be evaluated with respect to their peers.
2.      Non-profit associations need to support research and analysis related to correlating biobased materials use with carbon dioxide emission reductions and other positive environmental results.   These associations need to initiate programs to influence public policy including the need for city councils to insist that the results of their procurement programs for reducing carbon dioxide emissions be shown on the city’s websites.
3.      Chemical companies interested in better biobased product demand should lobby their legislatures to require city procurement departments to purchase biobased products and to have in-place effective measurement and reporting programs on these purchases and their results in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.




Friday, May 18, 2018

Data on Chemical Companies’ Waste and the Recycling/Reuse of that Waste


Dozens of chemically-related companies’ sustainability reports were searched to find quantities of waste generated by the companies and the percentage of that waste recycled/reused (reuse is usually generating heat from the waste).  Such data was found for 34 companies and this data is presented in the following table:


company
recycled and thermally recovered waste (mt)
total waste generated (mt)
% of the total waste that is recycled and thermally recovered
methanex
1,500
3,340
45%
orica
7,300
18,200
40%
altana
18,021
28,204
64%
iff
18,665
38,867
48%
borealis
45,892
59,600
77%
givaudan
47,771
61,805
77%
kaneka
37,000
63,000
59%
symrise
18,160
63,550
29%
linde
22,374
67,800
33%
mexichem
12,359
72,700
17%
nippon shokubai
39,633
80,044
50%
shin etsu
71,000
101,000
70%
mitsubishi
50,000
130,200
38%
yara
49,176
81,300
60%
asahi glass
147,754
148,000
100%
lubizol
55,500
153,000
36%
wacker
123,550
167,140
74%
henkel
151,000
179,000
84%
covestro
50,080
193,000
26%
dsm
170,000
202,000
84%
monsanto
185,600
227,000
82%
lg chem
156,622
251,516
62%
merck kgaa
160,000
254,000
63%
asahi kasei
333,600
339,000
98%
mitisubishi
204,000
340,000
60%
tosoh
418,468
419,850
100%
dupont
149,723
465,640
32%
evonik
296,000
512,000
58%
bayer
214,000
840,000
25%
israel chemical
855,540
882,000
97%
formosa petrochemical
1,214,062
1,259,273
96%
scg chemicals
1,373,000
1,376,000
100%
basf
1,674,800
2,120,000
79%
average
253,702
339,334
63%
standard deviation


25%


The data shows that on average the 34 companies recently generated 339,334 metric tons (mt) per year of waste, while recycling/reusing on average 253,702 mt, an average 63% of the waste being recycled/reused.  The data suggests to me that chemical companies have active, successful programs to recycle/reuse the waste they generate.   These programs follow globally-wide standards for collection and reporting data.  The development of these standards has been ongoing for a long time.  It seems to me that such standards do well for company sustainability what accounting standards have done for promoting company financial successes.

The United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation has a report on how companies benefit by recycling and reusing waste versus landfilling and/or incinerating the waste.  (Click here to read the report – pdf file.)  A report from General Motors provides how the company has managed to recycle 85 percent of its worldwide manufacturing waste.  (click here to read the report – pdf file.)  A McKinsey Company article focuses on company reductions of materials and energy use, including waste material use.  (Click here to go to this article.)