Innovation drives change and is a critical-to-life activity for any company - and of course it is more than just the outcome of great science-led research. It’s about being in tune with societal, market and customer needs – and being able to come up with timely solutions to meet those needs.
That’s the AkzoNobel approach. For us, innovation begins with great insight into our customers’ needs. We’re challenge-led, and we seek sustainable solutions by doing great science, undertaken by great people and in partnerships with others, where it makes sense to do so.
Industrial Chemicals is continuously involved in sustainable development and innovation projects which help us to also improve our ecological footprint – just to mention a few:
mTA: advanced anti-caking agent
Membrane electrolysis will particularly benefit from a new development of our R&D department: mTA-Salt. It's industrial salt with an eco-efficient anti-caking agent that could save up to 5% of a chlorine production plant's total energy consumption. For more information click here.
Our search for optimal use of primary energy resources
Our chlorine and salt processes require a lot of energy: heat for the salt evaporation and electricity for the chlorine process. That is why we are always searching for an optimal use of energy resources. Already since the early ‘30s in the past century AkzoNobel operated a combined cycle power plant in Hengelo for the heat and energy demand of the site. Our continuous search resulted in the use of biomass as alternative fuel.
Our salt factory in Mariager uses an environmentally-friendly woodchip-fired boiler installation to generate the steam needed for the energy-intensive production process, rather than relying entirely on gas. Natural gas is already a rather clean fuel with a low carbon dioxide emission rate. Now we produce half our steam demand based on carbon dioxide-neutral woodchips as the emitted carbon dioxide is balanced with the growth of forests. The salt facility in Mariager is one of the most energy-intensive plants in Denmark with a strong focus on energy efficiency, the plant uses approximately 1% of the whole gas demand in Danmark when running their cogeneration unit. Since the late 1990s, the Salt business has used natural gas as fuel in the plant’s cogeneration installation. The heat production is used in the salt factory’s evaporation process, and the electricity produced—which corresponds with the annual consumption of around 65,000 households—is delivered to the public grid.
Also, we work closely together with Dutch company Twence and German company EEW to use steam which results from waste incineration in our own processes.
Fuel cell pilot plant in Delfzijl
AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals and Nedstack Fuel Cell Technology work together in a pilot project with fuel cells that produce electricity from hydrogen at the Membrane Electrolysis plant (MEB) in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. Goal of this pilot is to demonstrate the sustainability, safety and employability of this energy power plant of the future. This innovative way of energy production, based on the transformation of hydrogen into electricity, heat and pure water, delivers sustainable, clean energy, it is free of emissions (CO2, soot, particulates, NOx) and is noiseless. AkzoNobel participates in this study because of the options it delivers to further close the chlorine cycle.
Dutch salt caverns to be used for gas oil storage
Next to projects for the storage of gas and nitrogen in the Northern part of the Netherlands, AkzoNobel has entered into a partnership with Argos to use existing underground salt caverns in the Twente region (in the east of the Netherlands) for the storage of gas oil, in line with AkzoNobel´s policy to find new uses for underground salt caverns. Underground storage offers many advantages in terms of sustainability. Not only are major changes to the landscape avoided, underground storage is also very safe. Studies have established that the caverns under the industrial area of Enschede are suitable for storage purposes in terms of size, stability and long term containment.
Green salt transport for chlorine
In order to significantly reduce NOx and soot particle emissions from barges used to transport salt from the salt plant in Delfzijl to the chlorine production plant in Rotterdam, the owners of five dedicated inland barges (each of them with a capacity of 2800 t) used for the supply of salt to AkzoNobel’s Rotterdam chlorine plant, will have their engines reconstructed. The installation of a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system will result in an annual NOx reduction of 78% - from about 100 tons per year to 22 tons. In addition, filter technology will reduce emissions of soot particles by 98% (from 5 tons to 0.1 ton per year).