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Using renewable raw materials in the Verbund

June 19, 2017

The biomass balance approach promotes the use of renewable raw materials, for example from waste, in the BASF production Verbund and can be applied to most products. In this process, fossil raw materials such as naphtha or natural gas are partly replaced by renewable raw materials. Examples of this are bio-naphtha and biogas. They are obtained from vegetable oils or organic waste, for example from agriculture.

Dr. Nikolaus Raupp, head of the BASF project explains it like this: “The principle is similar to that of green electricity – the electricity supplied to the plug socket does not necessarily come from renewable energy sources. The crucial factor is that the amount of sustainable raw materials in the system as a whole is correct.”

When a customer orders a biomass-balanced product, the fossil raw materials required at the start of the process are replaced by renewable raw materials. The mix of fossil and renewable raw materials is fed into the respective Verbund plant, for example the steam cracker.

The resulting product, for instance a binder for interior wall paints, is delivered to the customer for further processing. The renewable raw materials can no longer be detected in the final product itself. As a result, the customer does not know for certain whether the product that he finally holds in his hand is actually made from renewable raw materials. With the purchase, however, the customer ensures that more of these raw materials are fed into the system. TÜV Süd certifies the process by verifying whether the ordered quantity of renewable raw materials was used in the Verbund and correctly assigned in arithmetical terms.

Biomass-balanced products are identical to fossil-based products because the same chemical components are produced from fossil and renewable resources. The process reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves fossil resources. A further advantage is that, given the identical product formulation, existing technologies and systems can be used without modification.

Pictures series: Product examples produced with biomass balance approach