Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption

Lower emissions, higher production

Covestro has considerably reduced carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption over the last few years. This has been achieved even though production increased significantly in the same period. The main reasons for this success are a variety of innovative, environmentally friendly production processes and the in-house development of a system for efficient energy management at our company’s large production plants.

Between 2005 and 2014, Covestro reduced specific greenhouse gas emissions at its main sites by 39 percent. This figure describes the CO2 emissions in metric tons generated during the production of one metric ton of product. In the same period, specific energy consumption was reduced by 30 percent – i.e. the amount of primary energy in terawatt hours per metric ton of product. Since the original goal of a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 has nearly been achieved, Covestro set a new goal for itself in early 2016: The company now wants to half its emissions by 2025 relative to a baseline of 2005, thus demonstrating that the chemical industry is doing its part to support the targets set at the climate conference in Paris.

A new common calculation method was introduced in 2014 to ensure more transparent and consistent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency as a new KPI. To determine the specific values, data from Covestro’s 17 most important sites worldwide were compiled. These sites are responsible for more than 95 percent of the company’s total emissions.

The direct and indirect emissions in CO2 equivalents (Scope 1 and Scope 2) were reported using current and site-specific emission factors in accordance with the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol. For a meaningful primary energy comparison, the procured secondary energy was converted with standard factors into primary energy and then added to the amount of primary energy consumed. The reference value for the specific indicators was the aggregated, specification-conform production volume of all production plants at the 17 sites.

A key role in the successful reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption was played by STRUCTese®, an interdisciplinary system developed by Covestro for optimizing energy management. The system was introduced in about 60  plants around the globe.

A second cornerstone for energy efficiency and climate protection at Covestro is the development and application of innovative production processes — for example, for energy-saving chlorine production with ODC technology and for manufacturing the foam component TDI using the new gas phase technology.

The reduction in nitrous oxide emissions has also had a positive effect on the greenhouse gas balance. This has been achieved through modern catalytic processes for waste gas treatment, which were introduced for nitric acid production at the site in Dormagen, Germany, Baytown, USA and Shanghai, China

Furthermore, the total quantity of CO2 emissions from all the Covestro sites is declining. Between 2005 and 2014, it fell 14 percent from 6.6 to 5.7 million metric tons, even though the production volume of the company’s 17 most important sites worldwide rose from 8.9 million tons in 2005 to 13.0 million tons in 2014 — an increase of more than 40 percent.