From materials to energy, the green turning point in chemistry

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From the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to the development of bioplastics obtained from renewable sources. Passing through the recovery of rare earths and basic chemical products. But there is also no shortage of investment in hydrogen. The circular economy is essential to avoid polluting and to give businesses greater development opportunities thanks to medium and long-term savings. For this reason, the Chemistry, rubber and plastics section of Unindustria Lazio has collected ten good practices developed by as many companies. The objective is not only to raise awareness among other companies, but also to encourage synergies.

Air Liquide (industrial and medicinal gases), present in Lazio with its center in Lanuvio (Rome), has developed a technology for the capture of Co2 emitted by industries such as steel mills, cement factories and refineries. Also Basf Italy, present in Rome with its own site, home of the catalysts division, has a project with La Sapienza and Enea to develop precious metal-based catalysts capable of capturing Co2 to turn it into methane of renewable origin. On the hydrogen front, the NextChem (Maire Group) of Rome, plans the first technological incubator on an industrial scale for the development of the national supply chain for the production, transport, accumulation and use of hydrogen for the decarbonisation of industrial processes and for sustainable mobility. At the Flexobags of Viterbo, the production of shopping bags in biodegradable and compostable bioplastic has led to the creation of products in Mater Bi, a bioplastic deriving from renewable sources born from Novamont research, of which Flessobags is a premium partner. Along the same lines there Plasta Rei of Cisterna di Latina, with a plant used for the production of recycled granules with a chemical process, intended for products for the food packaging market.

For the Itelyum of Ceccano (Frosinone) the production of regenerated lubricating bases has led to the development of a project, financed by the Pnrr, which aims to recover rare earths from waste from electrical and electronic equipment. The project was carried out in the Latina plant Lanxess involves the reuse of a by-product, called Naugalube TPI, which is generated during the production of an antioxidant/stabilizer for lubricating oils: Naugalube 438L-grade A. Naugalube TPI is used in the synthesis of Naugalube 438L-grade B to replace the raw material first virgin: Nonene, which is a petroleum derivative.

There are companies that have then developed technologies to put products obtained from the recovery of waste back onto the market. The Novamont Group (bioplastics), which has a site in Patrica (Frosinone), has started a wastewater valorisation project, with the aim of recovering the pure components and the water separately, allocating the former to the global market and the latter to the purification. The system involves a purification process through which water and tetrahydrofuran (THF), a valuable product that is sold on a global market, can be separated from the other components. The Pomezia (Rome) plant of Tecma – Sogimi Group (plastic materials) has focused on the reuse of polyethylene waste, which can become under shock-absorbing carpets in synthetic sports fields, shock-proof mats in children’s playgrounds or membranes for separating and protecting walls. In the Supino (Frosinone) plant of Vetrecoa company active in the recovery of glass cullet, the ceramics (material contaminating the glass melting process) contained in the glass cullet upstream of the selection process are separated, managing to recover 800 kg per day which thus go to recovery rather than to dump.

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