Closing the material cycle Pyrolysis oil and biomethane enable production of mass-balanced plastics
As part of a development partnership, BASF, Mercedes-Benz, Pyrum Innovations and Witte Automotive can successfully close the cycle of recyclable materials by replacing fossil raw materials according to mass balance processes. By using pyrolysis oil from used tyres and biomethane from organic waste, fossil raw materials can now be replaced in the production of plastics with virgin properties.
At the K trade fair starting on 19 October, BASF, Mercedes-Benz, Pyrum Innovations and Witte Automotive will present the results of their development partnership. To produce the plastic for the bow door handle for selected Mercedes-Benz models, BASF combined alternative raw materials in a mass balance approach: pyrolysis oil generated at Pyrum Innovations AG from scrap tires and biomethane from agricultural waste and food industry residues. The resulting plastic, in this case, the Ultramid polyamide 6 with 30 percent glass fiber reinforcement, features the same properties as prime quality plastic making it the ideal material for demanding vehicle components.
In line with an efficient circular economy, mass-balanced products will be used for bow door handles for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the EQE this year. “Solutions like these help our customers meet their sustainability goals,” explains Dr. Martin Jung, President of Performance Materials, BASF. “This is our Go!Create approach: we invite all our customers and partners to join us in shaping the path towards a circular economy with plastics. With this bow door handle for Mercedes-Benz, we have shown this in an exemplary way.”
An independent certification following the Redcert2 scheme, verifies the quantities of pyrolysis oil and biomethane required to replace fossil raw materials for the end product. These certified raw materials are fed into BASF’s production network, are mathematically assigned to the plastics through the mass-balance approach and then delivered to the BASF customer Witte Automotive. The subsequent production of the bow door handles at the automotive supplier is audited externally in the same way based on the Redcert2 standard.
In addition, the jointly developed solution approach will be transferred to a crash absorber for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. As component of the vehicle´s front end, the crash absorber contributes to an even reduction of forces acting on the other car in a frontal collision. In this case, again, a mass-balanced plastic compound based on pyrolysis oil and biomethane from BASF meets the high-quality requirements of Mercedes-Benz, particularly regarding crash safety.
By improving the production, use and recycling of plastics, the companies involved are one step closer to their sustainability goals. The project partners were recognized for the jointly developed solution as winners of the 2022 Materialica Design + Technology Awards in the category Material in Berlin on October 5, 2022. The judges highlighted the collaborative approach along the value chain as essential for addressing the topic of sustainability.