Can biomass waste improve manufacturing efficiencies & circularity?

Can biomass waste improve manufacturing efficiencies & circularity?
Photo - Clariant

Definitely, rice bran waxes are a great testament, a step closer to more sustainable plastics. These bio-based processing aids can even be used in polyester applications that require FDA approval, like infant care, food packaging, appliances, and water filtration, more compounders and converters working with virgin and recycled engineering thermoplastics can use a low-carbon additive to improve efficiencies in their production processes.

Turning a challenge into a benefit

Each year, 1.5 million tons of rice bran oil are produced globally, generating thousands of tons of crude rice bran wax as a by-product of processing raw rice into edible oil. To help ensure maximum value gets gained from a cultivated resource, we repurpose the valuable cereal grain’s waste into renewable-based high-performing lubricating and dispersing aids that promote more efficient, effective and sustainable plastics manufacturing.

These Licocare RBW Vita waxes are a positive contribution to a circular carbon economy, carrying our 'Vita' designator because of their exceptionally high share of renewable carbon content – in this case, 100%. Importantly the multi-purpose additives hone in on challenges facing carbon- and energy-intensive operations. In particular plastics processors’ needs and targets around efficiency improvements and carbon emission savings while boosting product performance.

“It’s our mission for chemistry innovations to accelerate the transition from fossil carbon to renewable carbon, making change more viable at the manufacturing level. Ultimately these high-performing additives are about all in the supply chain contributing to the SDG goals of responsible consumption, production, and climate action while staying competitive.” Manuel Müller, head - Strategy & Innovation Adsorbents & Additives, Clariant.

Carbon footprint reduction & enhanced performance

How do they help? In technical terms, Licocare RBW Vita waxes offer a low-carbon way to improve polymer melt flow and increase dispersion while reducing the force needed to remove injection molded parts or release film sheets.

On the factory floor, it becomes easier to fulfill demanding end-application requirements for consistently smooth surfaces and filling geometries. Mechanical properties can also be enhanced while considering the increasingly relevant need to work with recycled content.

Carbon generation and consumption can be reduced through faster processing at lower temperatures, leading to less energy use, fewer product rejections, and less waste.

This is achievable because these renewable additives help polymers flow more quickly into molds and through dies with less drag and turbulence, enabling processing temperatures to be lowered and with that CO2 emissions too. Easier material release means much less time lost to stuck parts and cleaning. Even better, there’s less waste as any scrap can be reused, including in FDA-approved material, either for new packaging or for other applications like creating PET fibers for water filters or children’s clothing. And not forgetting the inventory advantage of having a set of ready-to-use additives approved for FDA and non-FDA applications.

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