Covestro has scored a research breakthrough for the use of plant-based raw materials in plastics production: aniline, an important basic chemical, can now be derived from biomass. The materials manufacturer achieved this by collaborating with partners on the development of a completely new process, initially in the laboratory. Until now, only fossil raw materials had been used for the production of aniline, which plays an important role in the chemical industry and is used as starting material for numerous products.
As per the press release, Covestro plans to further develop the new process together with partners from industry and research. The first step is to upscale the process in a pilot plant with the ultimate goal of enabling the production of bio-based aniline on an industrial scale. That would be an unprecedented achievement in the chemical industry.
“The market is showing great interest in ecologically beneficial products based on renewable raw materials,” said Covestro Chief Commercial Officer Dr. Markus Steilemann. “Being able to derive aniline from biomass is another key step towards making the chemical and plastics industries less dependent on fossil raw materials and market fluctuations. With this, we are pursuing our vision of making the world a brighter place.”“The process currently under development uses renewable raw materials and produces aniline with a much better CO2 footprint than that manufactured with standard technology,” said Covestro project manager Dr. Gernot Jäger. “This also enables our customers to markedly improve the CO2 footprint of their aniline-based products.” And the reactions would take place under milder conditions. The ecological aspects of the process are also being thoroughly evaluated by external institutes.