Pushing the Boundaries for a Sustainable World
Preview of Covestro´s K 2019 Innovations
The development of a functioning circular economy and improved management of limited fossil resources, primarily crude oil are the central points for increased sustainability.
Materials manufacturer Covestro will present innovative material solutions, which will include products and technologies for the automotive, construction and electronics industries, but also innovative and functional applications in the health, furniture, sports and leisure sectors.
A key aspect for developing a circular economy in the plastics and chemical industry is closing the carbon cycle with recycled resources. Plant waste and CO2 are worth considering as alternatives to fossil resources.
Another driving force is the advancing digitalization. Covestro has started a comprehensive program, which focuses on the customer. To accomplish this, the company is incorporating digital technologies and processes into production, the supply chain, research and development, at all customer contact points and in new business model development.
Together with partners such as RWTH Aachen University and various textile manufacturers, Covestro succeeded in producing elastic textile fibres from thermoplastic polyurethane with CO2, and as a result partially replaced crude oil as the raw material. The starting point is an intermediate product called cardyon, which is already used for the soft foam found in mattresses and the base layers of sports fields.
Global trends such as climate protection and the conservation of resources coupled with increasing mobility are forcing car manufacturers to rethink. Trends such as electric mobility, networking, autonomous driving and car sharing require totally new vehicle concepts and technologies. Covestro developed lightweight and functional materials that reduce fuel consumption and extend the range of electric vehicles. They also impart the required stability.
Solar mobility could make an important contribution to climate protection and the conservation of fossil resources. That is why Covestro is collaborating with the Sonnenwagen Team, a team of students from RWTH Aachen University and FH Aachen that have been working on the question of how to make electric mobility more sustainable.
Power generation from renewable sources is a key part of sustainability. This applies also to wind power, which is one of the most promising renewable energy sources due to its global availability and the technical progress already made.
However, cost-efficient processes for manufacturing wind power plants are in greater demand than ever to enable further expansion and for competing with traditional energy resources. Once in operation, the aim is for turbines to be used over a lengthy period with the lowest possible maintenance requirements.
Covestro has joined forces with partners and developed a polyurethane (PU) resin and a manufacturing technology, which – in conjunction with glass fibre mats and an efficient production process – enables shorter cycle times. The resin flows more easily and ensures better wetting of the glass fibre mats used for reinforcement than the epoxy resins used so far. It also exhibits very good mechanical properties and meets many regulatory and industry performance standards.
Covestro has developed coating solutions with higher cost efficiency. Protective coatings based on Pasquick technology for steel towers as well as gel coatings for blades of wind power plants significantly increase productivity and ensure a long-lasting performance without maintenance. This is because the use of Pasquick requires one layer less than conventional corrosion protection and the coatings have a lower curing time.
Mobile Working Space
The car of the future will be a multifunctional, mobile living and working space. This is the guiding principle of a new interior concept for future mobility, which Covestro will present at the K 2019 plastics trade fair.
The interior is equally a matter of functionality, comfort and design, but also of efficiency. The focus is on optically and haptically designed surfaces, the integration of ambient lighting, latest infotainment systems and novel seating concepts.
As the progressing digitalization and networking (connectivity) as well as the trend towards autonomous driving increase, car interiors will have several displays, sensors and cameras. Makrolon polycarbonates and their blends are low weight and mechanically stable. In addition, they provide good thermal and electrical insulation, as well as maximum design freedom.
Polyurethane is a classic but extremely versatile material for car interiors. In the form of soft or molded foam, it creates the basis for comfortable and safe car seats. Polyurethane foams have also been used for a long time in instrument panels, upholstery, trim parts and roof linings and provide comfort in the interior. With TPU coatings, surfaces can be created as desired – from particularly soft to hard.
"Our comprehensive concept includes developments, which may become reality in a few years, but it also includes visionary ideas for the future. We are particularly focused on the interior design, which can be both living and working space in an autonomous vehicle, offering customized experiences to the user. Future vehicle concepts for electromobility offer car manufacturers opportunities for completely new room concepts and additionally open up a new ground for brand differentiation” – Jochen Hardt, Global Marketing Mobility and Project Manager for the new concept