Brenntag experts assist our customers in developing tailored formulations and advise them on ways to optimize the use and handling of the products.
Brenntag also endeavours to continuously add new products to its portfolio which increase efficiency, reduce consumption or decrease environmental impact when applied, thereby providing sustainable alternatives to conventional products.
Brenntag’s expertise and portfolio thus help to improve the level of efficiency within the supply chain, and support its customers’ optimized use of resources and improved productivity.
Sustainable Products & Customer Solutions: Best Practices from the Brenntag regions
Alumichem and Brenntag Nordic worked togetheron a trial project for a year and a half. The Danish company Alumichem specializes in developing and producing high-quality aluminates for water treatment processes, the concrete industry and winter maintenance services. Alumichem’s research and development team conducted a trial project with “used” acetic acid provided by Brenntag to determine whether this acetic acid could be added to a de-icer without impairing the latter’s effectiveness and quality. The acetic acid came from another company that had used it as a processing aid to produce a product. For Brenntag, there is an extensive scope for research and trial projects in relation to the treatment of products (such as acids and solvents) with the aim of restoring the quality of the substances as effectively as possible after their initial use.
The project team had to be patient. Success was uncertain for some time, as numerous undesired side effects occurred at several stages of the trial.In the end, they managed to eliminate all of these:The effectiveness of the de-icer was virtually the same; only its colour could not be aligned with the original product.
“This is due to the sugar residue from its initial use and is a defect that will be irrelevant for certain purchasers of the recycled product”, says Tina Klarskov Olesen, COO of Alumichem.
The team is satisfied with the results, especially since the product has been accepted positively onthe market. Nonetheless, there were concerns at the beginning of the project due to the complex network of laws regarding the handling of chemicals and waste. An essential aspect of the facilitation of the circular economy approach is that chemicals can be classified as chemical products even after their first use. Classification as waste would significantly complicate their further use. A positive development regarding the further promotion of circular economy models is emerging, particularly on the EU legislative level.
Following the successful pilot project, Brenntag and Alumichem have no doubt that this kind of business model will provide additional potential in the future.
Since 2018, we have been working with the company “Der Grüne Punkt” (Green Dot) in order to develop application possibilities for the recycled plastic Systalen for our customers. Systalen is made from plastics obtained from the German domestic recyclingsystem known as the “Gelber Sack” or “Gelbe Tonne” – one great example of a functioning circular economy.
Systalenis a high-quality plastic granulate, which is able to replace new plastic in the manufacturing of various types of packaging and products used in the fields of building and construction and landscaping, logistics, transport and packaging technology. In this way, it is able to lower CO2 emissions and the process energy required as compared to newly manufactured plastic. This makes it a sustainable alternative and useful innovation – which is why Brenntag is involved with a pilot project that has been launched in several European countries looking at the marketing of Systalen, contributing our application expertise and advising our customers.
With the “Fluid Management & Engineering Services Team”, Brenntag Lubricants in the USA offers its customers a fee based programme and on-site service to significantly increase efficiency when using oil, lubricants and other fluids. A team of chemical, mechanical and manufacturing engineers advises customers in the manufacturing industry on the selection, usage and handling of suitable products, and perform checks and analyses.
By working closely together with customers at their facilities, processes can be optimized and adapted, thereby reducing consumption, waste volumes and costs. For example, one customer in the mechanical engineering industry reduced its liquid and solid waste volumes by around 295,000 litres over a period of three years.
We are able to use our leading market position to be able to bring together suppliers and consumers of environmentally friendly solutions – reflecting our corporate philosophy of “ConnectingChemistry”. In Chile, for example, we organized a workshop together with a manufacturer of chemical products at which we discussed technological developments in the packaging sector with our clients from the plastics processing industry. We presented new materials such as special resins that offer all the usual benefits in terms of safety, transparency and resistance but with low weight and high recyclability – characteristics that can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of a finished product.
The Brenntag subsidiary Coastal Chemicals – a specialist in the oil and gas industry – has developed the “Gas Engine Service Program” together with a major supplier of mineral oil products. As part of a multi-stage process (planning, execution, documentation and review), the customer’s use of lubricants is optimized.
For example, the frequency of oil changes can be significantly reduced, as the oil is not changed after a pre-specified number of operating hours, but rather only when it is actually necessary. Reducing the number of oil changes also lowers the volume of used and residual oil that has to be disposed of. The service also has a positive impact on occupational safety, since the reduced maintenance intensity means that employees have to deal less frequently with hot machinery in an industrial environment.
As partof a pilot project in the year under review, one customer was able to decrease its consumption of lubricants by around 328,000 litres, as it only had to perform one oil change instead of four on many of its more than 180 machines.
Surface engineering and finishing is a relevant topic in many sectors, such as the automotive, aviation and aerospace industries where properties such as corrosion protection, paint adhesion and wear resistance are key. Surface engineering is also important in the housing industry, for the finishing of household appliances, faucets or televisions. These are chemically highly intensive processes which are therefore subject to a large number of environmental restrictions. This includes the impact on water, waste water and sludge. As an expert in the field of water treatment, Brenntag Mid-South in the USA supports its customers in this industry with a special product portfolio as well as providing technical services. For instance, the company has assembled a technical service team to assist a growing customer base in the environmentally-friendly disposal of residues from treatment processes. For this purpose, this team has developed various specialty chemical products, including coagulants, flocculants, dispersants and heavy metal precipitants. In various ways, they all help to improve the cleaning and disposal of contaminated process water.
For some years now, Brenntag in Europe has been handling the production, sales and marketing of Clorious2. This patented, ready-to-use chlorine dioxide solution efficiently and sustainably controls microbial contamination in a wide array of water-based industrial processes. Clorious2 has a favorable environmental footprint as its usage does not result in the formation of harmful by-products like chlorinated organic compounds (“green chemistry”). It offers many industries unprecedented options for environmentally- friendly water treatment.
In 2017, Brenntag reported marketing success in the food & beverages and corrugated board industries: Brenntag GmbH is supplying Clorious2 to a well-known German wine and champagne producer for treating the drinking water that it uses. Brenntag UK & Ireland are offering this product to leading corrugated board companies as a concept to improve process hygiene and to enable the industry to reuse wastewater, thereby assisting them to meet zero discharge targets.
In 2017, the global RSPO membership of Brenntag Holding GmbH was approved on behalf of all Brenntag subsidiaries that trade palm oil products. At the end of 2017, the group membership included some 40 Brenntag companies worldwide. The non-profit organization Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is committed to sustainable palm oil production and certifies producers and dealers of palm oil and palm oil products which comply with certain environmental protection and social standards, including conservation of the rainforests and the protection of indigenous peoples. Through the enhanced coordination on a global level, Brenntag paves the way for integrating sustainably produced palm oil products in the supply chain.
In April 2017, Brenntag Polska successfully completed the certification process for trading of UTZ-certified cocoa and chocolate products. This certification covers the entire supply chain, from the producer and the initial purchaser to the manufacturer of the end- product. Brenntag customers can thus trust in the fact that the certified products purchased at Brenntag – such as cocoa powder, cocoa butter and paste and various chocolates – are not only of the highest quality but have also been produced with respect to the needs of people and the environment. As well as Brenntag Polska, our companies in Croatia and Lithuania are also UTZ-certified.
An issue of increasing importance in the agriculture and mining industry is dust formation. The dust raised up from the ground during the activities is deposited and bound by either water or chemicals. For this process, Brenntag provides its customers in the Latin America region and in Canada with a sustainable solution via the microbial dust suppressant product EA1 manufactured by Earth Alive Clean Technologies. This is a 100% organic and biodegradable product based on the latest advances in microbial technology. It is free from hygroscopic salts such as calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, petroleum-based derivatives and other harsh chemicals usually used to control dust . It does not dry the soil out either.
According to the manufacturer’s estimates, as a result of the introduction of EA1, more than 80% of the fresh water used for dust control can be saved and used in the production processes of the minerals. In 2015, Brenntag entered into a multi-year exclusive distribution agreement for EA1 for the countries mentioned.
In 2016, Brenntag added two innovative rheology modifiers to its range of products for the paper and pulp industry: Both products are used as additives primarily in the production of corrugated cardboard, where they influence the flow properties. In contrast to conventional boron-containing substances, one product is free from carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic components (CMR-free). The second product still contains Borax but in a liquid form which makes handling and usage safer and more sustainable. Brenntag has acquired the licences for both of the patented products and the exclusive rights for blending, selling and distributing them globally (with the exception of North America and Mexico).
In the Asia Pacific region, Brenntag has been working with a Korean producer in the area of chemicals recycling since November 2015. The partner company treats chemicals used in the electronics manufacturing so that they can be reused in other industries. As part of a joint project, Brenntag Asia Pacific promotes the use of recycled solvents among its customers in the coatings industry.
The purity requirements of the chemicals used determine whether treated chemicals are suitable for a particular application. Brenntag provides extensive application expertise for promotion of the recycled chemicals. Initial sales successes were recorded in Vietnam in the year under review.
Brenntag has been working with BASF for many years in the sale of plasticizers. Our portfolio here primarily comprises the non-phthalate plasticizer** Hexamoll®DINCH, which was specially developed for applications with close contact with people. It is therefore particularly suitable for the manufacture of sensitive items such as toys, medicines or clothing. Brenntag sells the BASF products exclusively in numerous European countries and also began doing so in the African market in 2016.
As part of a project in Ghana, for example, Brenntag advised customers on the use of plasticizers in the production of flip-flops. To ensure that top-quality advice is provided, the Brenntag employees in Africa received special training beforehand at BASF in Ludwigshafen on the properties and possible applications of the various plasticizers.
**Plasticizers are used to soften hard PVC, thereby making it flexible and durable.
Air pollution emissions from shipping continues to grow and in order to improve this situation regulations have been introduced which specify that the sulphur content of ship fuels should be significantly reduced by the year 2020. As a leading distributor of specialty chemicals that reduce harmful emissions, Brenntag has been able to help both ship operators and specialist maritime service providers meet this challenge. Through the utilization of its extensive global operational footprint, experts at Brenntag have successfully developed a robust logistics and supply chain solution, which enables the safe delivery of both Liquid Caustic Soda and Urea Solution directly to cruise liners, which dock at ten ports in Europe, plus Dubai, the Dominican Republic, Canada and the United States. These products optimise the effectiveness of the systems that are used to purify ship emissions.
Through its product “Clorious2”, Brenntag offers automobile manufacturers an efficient and sustainable solution for the removal of microbial infestation and – even more importantly–for its permanent prevention. This new type of chlorine dioxide solution is used as an oxidizing agent and disinfectant in the water recirculating systems of the rinsing zones during the bodywork pretreatment process – with many positive effects such as a reduction of more than 40% in the biocide quantities used, reduction of approx. 20% in water use and minimization of health risks due to the reduction in the level of microbial contamination.
Brenntag offers Clorious2 as part of a holistic concept: the toxic gas chlorine dioxide is liquefied in a concentrated solution and transported in a specially designed container which complies with the highest safety standards and can be used directly from this container. The chlorine dioxide agent completely decomposes during the process. Clorious2 does not contain any undesirable or harmful by-products and only biologically decomposable products result during its use (“green fingerprint”).
With the SAFE-TAINER™ system and the chemical service model, Brenntag in Germany offers asphalt laboratories a safe and future-proof solution for the use of trichloroethylene (tri). This chemical has been used in laboratories as a solvent for years, to separate the construction material asphalt into its two components, rock and bitumen, for quality testing. However, tri represents a health hazard and, since April 2016, has been only allowed to be used in approved exceptional cases in accordance with the EU’s chemicals regulation REACH. In such cases, there must be a guarantee and evidence that the substance can be used safely and without posing a risk.
Until an alternative is introduced at the laboratories, Brenntag GmbH is offering needs-based supplies of tri while observing uniform, strict safety requirements. The established SAFE-TAINER™ system developed by SAFECHEM Europe GmbH allows the solvent to be handled, stored, transported and disposed of safely. It is also part of an extensive chemical service model devised by Brenntag in cooperation with SAFECHEM in 2013 for such applications. The use and disposal of the chemical are now controlled and comply with a uniform safety standard throughout the entire industry; the risks involved have been minimized and everyone involved is interested in reducing the amount of tri used.
The plant of an American manufacturer of latex foam for mattresses was generating approximately 130,000 liters of waste water an hour which was heavily contaminated with natural and synthetic latex, primarily due to the cleaning of its production line. This waste water had to be collected separately and trucked off for disposal. After multiple tests and samples both in the lab and at the plant, the water experts of Brenntag Northeast eventually identified a suitable combination of various polymers which turned the milky waste water into a clear liquid. As a result, the latex waste water can now be treated and disposed of together with the other waste water by means of the normal process. The waste water contamination as a whole was thus reduced, the daily truck trips needed for disposal became superfluous and the company now saves approximately USD 30,000 per annum in disposal costs.
For over 15 years, Brenntag Latin America has produced and distributed a series of liquid fertilizers under its AGROFEED brand. These products involve a combined fertilization and irrigation concept developed by experts in cooperation with Brenntag. Using a special method, the primary nutrients nitrogen, phosphate and potassium carbonate are enriched with calcium and magnesium. In a composition and dosage which is specially mixed for the customer, these liquid fertilizers are directly added to the irrigation system for plants, improving their uptake of these nutrients. This system uses less fertilizer than other methods require to achieve the same effect, and the tubes of the irrigation system do not need to be cleaned as frequently. With its AGROFEED products, Brenntag offers its customers in Latin America an environmentally friendly and also cost-efficient solution and is thus helping to improve sustainability in agriculture.
An example of Brenntag’s water expertise involves a customer solution in Chile: to reduce the mining industry’s use of scarce fresh water, seawater is used for copper refining. However, this seawater has to be transported to the mines which are frequently situated well inland and requires energy-intensive desalination once there. To avoid these steps, a Brenntag customer has developed a technology which enables the use of seawater for copper sulfide treatment. Since 2014, it has used a solution consisting of sodium bisulphate powder and salt water which Brenntag Chile manufactures on site. Brenntag constructed a dilution plant which it operates at the mine for this purpose. This has not only reduced the costs for the customer but has also improved the environmental footprint: with a full rate of utilization, annual use of fresh water has been reduced by an estimated 12,000 cubic meters, while annual CO2 emissions have been cut by an estimated 1,000 tons as more than 400 tanker lorry trips to the mine are saved every year.
Through chemical leasing, Brenntag offers its customers an innovative, service-oriented and sustainable business model whereby customers pay for the benefit which they realize through a chemical product. The supplier (in this case, Brenntag) is paid on the basis of functional units within the process – e. g. the volume of water purified – instead of the volume of the chemical supplied for the cleaning process. Chemical leasing fulfils a joint objective for both the supplier and the customer: to achieve the desired effect while using the lowest possible volume of chemicals.
Both parties have an incentive to achieve a further reduction in their use of chemicals through process optimizations. Where necessary, Brenntag thus provides in-depth technical advice for its customers as well as supplementary services to ensure that this business model works for both parties. Chemical leasing is particularly attractive in the areas of cleaning, heating/cooling, coatings, paints and finishes and also waste water treatment.
Vehicle emissions are one of the key causes of air pollution and the greenhouse effect. Brenntag’s AdBlue®/Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) product helps to reduce diesel engines’ harmful nitrogen oxide and soot particle emissions. Brenntag distributes this product under different names on different continents: AdBlue® in much of Europe and now also in Asia Pacific, DEF in North America.
AdBlue®/DEF is a high-purity chemical which consists of urea and demineralized water. Brenntag delivers the mixture to its customers in quantities matching their individual requirements. Each batch includes a quality certificate guaranteeing the purity of the product.
For diesel engines fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, a precisely dosed quantity of this urea solution is sprayed into the exhaust flow. This results in a chemical reaction which produces ammonia. Once this passes the catalytic converter together with the nitrogen oxide, the latter is converted into water and nitrogen in the form of harmless molecules which are also present in the air we breathe.
Demand for AdBlue®/DEF has increased due to the mandatory introduction in many countries of SCR technology in the diesel engines of commercial vehicles as well as other statutory regulations requiring lower emissions. Brenntag is one of the leading providers of this sustainable product as well as related services (storage, filling and transportation) and thus helps to reduce the level of air pollution associated with heavy vehicle traffic.