Certified Mass Balance Method Silicone Fluids Based on Renewable Raw Materials
The international inspectorate Tüv Süd has recently certified the Wacker Group’s mass balance method for tracing renewable raw materials in silicone manufacture. The manufacturer is the first company in the world to produce silicone fluids without the use of fossil resources.
Munich/Germany — With the certification, the company has a recognized procedure for tracking the use of renewable raw materials throughout the production process as far as the end product. Since, as of April, the chemicals producer also uses plant-based methanol in its production processes, it is now able to market silicone fluids exclusively manufactured with the help of biomethanol.
Silicone fluids produced with bio-based or petrochemically based methanol are chemically identical. However, biomethanol based silicones have a significantly more favorable carbon balance, since no fossil raw materials are involved in the methanol manufacture. According to Wacker’s calculations, around 1.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide can be saved per metric ton of silicone fluid. Silicone production requires not only methanol, but also silicon, which is derived from quartz rock or sand. Silicone fluids from biomethanol are thus produced entirely from mineral- or plant-based raw materials.
The certificates issued in mid-March certify that the mass balance method meets the criteria of Tüv Süd standard CMS 71 for the traceability of renewable raw materials. One such raw material is, for example, biomethanol, which can be used instead of methanol from fossil sources. The certificates also include several high- and low-viscosity silicone fluids for use in the cosmetics and consumer goods industries.
For Wacker, the certificate is important because, as of April, its Silicones business division will not only use petroleum-based methanol, but also biomethanol obtained from plant residue. With the aid of the mass-balance method, it can be calculated how much silicone fluid is produced from renewable and therefore non-fossil raw materials. The biomethanol used for this purpose is obtained exclusively from certified manufacturers, the company claims.