Implementation of circular economy in the CHT Group
Measures of the CHT Group
With TUBINGAL RISE, CHT has successfully introduced the first textile softener based on recycled silicones and emulsifiers from renewable raw materials to the market. Its silicone oil consists of used silicone materials that have been converted into a recycled silicone oil via a complex treatment and cleaning process. The hydrophilic silicone softener can be applied to all textiles and provides a special core softness. Used on recycled fibers, the textile can be completely recycled again after use.
As an additive for the Personal Care industry, silicones in hair care ensure good combability, shine and softness. With CHT-BeauSil Re-AMO, a common silicone raw material has not only been modified using natural sugar variants, but it also consists of more than 90 percent recycled silicone raw materials.
As a manufacturer of silicone specialties, the CHT Group now supplies some of the recycled silicone raw materials itself. Common silicone raw materials contain silicone cyclenes – known as D4, D5 and D6 for short – from the preliminary processes and are largely removed by distillation. This distillate is not disposed of as waste but is used as a raw material in CHT’s silicone synthesis. In 2022, around 80 metric tons of raw materials were obtained in this way and ergo waste was avoided.
Below you can see the CHT terminology and test criteria defined for the most important topics in the context of the circular economy.
TERMINOLOGY OF THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Bio-based products are derived from plants, animals and other renewable agricultural, marine and forestry materials. CHT aims to use raw materials from sustainable cultivation.
Figures: percentage of bio-based materials in the product.
Recycled materials are products, materials or substances which are derived from waste. Waste is either recycled for the original purpose or up-cycled/down-cycled.
Specification: percentage (mass) of recycled materials in the product.
Biodegradability is defined as the fact that a material can be biologically degraded in aqueous systems under anaerobic or aerobic conditions. Depending on the environmental conditions CO2, H2O, methane, biomass, and mineral salts are released in this process. Test criteria OECD 302B (aerobic) (elimination and mineralization). Criteria are fulfilled if more than 70 % are decomposed within 28 days.
Criteria for anaerobic degradation will be added if available.
Compostability describes the degradation process of organic materials via a microbial digestion by soil organisms for transforming these materials into compost.
CHT recommends testing compostability according to DIN CertCo.
DIN CertCo test criteria in accordance with DIN EN 13432 on final products such as e.g. T-shirts, coated paper, laminate floors, etc. All four criteria must be fulfilled:
VCI guide to circular economy
High resource consumption, raw material scarcity and climate change require a rethinking of economy and society. A central part of the solution can be seen in the circular economy.
The chemical-pharmaceutical industry in particular, which is the starting point for many other industries, can lead the way here with sustainable products and processes.
Against this backdrop, the Chemie3 2021 sustainability initiative has drawn up a guide to circular economy. This is intended to provide strategic and operational assistance to companies in the sector in order to switch to a circular economy.
CHT was a participating company in the development of the industry guide for circular economy and we are also represented in the guide with our approach in the area of silicones as a best-case example.
Production of silicone masterbatches: increased energy efficiency at the Oyten plant
At the German plant in Oyten, a team reviewed all energy-intensive technologies with regard to process optimization and improved energy efficiency.
In 2022, the team, consisting of process, plant and production engineers and R&D, set out to optimize silicone masterbatches; the goal was to optimize the process in terms of energy usage.
Masterbatch production involves several sequences with significant increases in viscosity, as well as mixing and kneading phases at high viscosities. These phases are particularly energy-intensive and account for most of the total energy demand of batch production.
In the first step, the production process was significantly optimized in terms of the temperature profile and reaction sequence, and in a second step, the recipes were converted to automatic process sequences. This means that the PLC automatically drives the recipe sequence.
In the third, parallel step, the heating control was optimized. Overall, this measure resulted in energy savings (electricity) averaging 53 % per batch in masterbatch production.
The project was awarded the prize in the Responsible Care Competition 2023 by VCI Nord.