The international inspectorate TÜV SÜD has recently certified the WACKER Group’s mass balance method for tracing renewable raw materials in silicone manufacture
Silicone fluids are used in the cosmetics and consumer goods industries, among others. WACKER is the first company in the world to produce silicone fluids without the use of fossil resources.
The company has a recognised procedure for tracking the use of renewable raw materials throughout the production process as far as the end product.
As of April, WACKER also uses plant-based methanol in its production processes, and 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 favourable carbon balance, since no fossil raw materials are involved in the methanol manufacture.
The certificates issued in mid-March certify that the mass balance method used by WACKER in silicone manufacture 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 TÜV certificate is important because, as of April, its WACKER 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.
Biomethanol based silicone fluids have a significantly more favourable carbon balance than those produced from methanol based on petrochemical sources.
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.
By adding biomethanol-based silicone fluids to its silicone portfolio, the company is responding to the growing demand for products from renewable raw materials – a trend that is emerging in many industrial sectors.
“WACKER is the first silicone manufacturer to track the use of biomethanol across all production steps, through to its end products,” emphasises Auguste Willems, member of the WACKER Executive Board.
“This benefits not only us, but our customers, too. By using our biomethanol-based silicone fluids, customers can increasingly offer sustainable products. And what is more, the carbon balance improves significantly, too.”