LANXESS receives National Green Plant certificate

Quality seal from Chinese government for Ningbo plant

Cologne -

The specialty chemicals company LANXESS recently received the National Green Plant certificate for its plant in Ningbo from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of the People’s Republic of China. The Ningbo plant is located in Ningbo Petrochemical Economic & Technology Development zone (NPETD), a national level chemical park which is ranked top 3 in China.

The National Green Plant certificate is a key element of China’s Green Manufacturing System, which aims to accelerate industrial development while maintaining high environmental standards. This quality seal is awarded to just one thousand best-in-class companies who have demonstrated a clear commitment to sustainability in their respective industries by implementing cutting-edge technology and environmentally friendly practices in their production facilities. “Our plant in Ningbo sets a benchmark for the entire sector and achieved outstanding values, particularly with its low emissions and energy consumption per ton of product,” says Holger Hüppeler, head of the business unit Inorganic Pigments at LANXESS.

At its certified and state-of-the-art production site in China, LANXESS has installed the newly developed Ningbo Process. The production process is based on patented technology and ensures the most environmentally-sound production of synthetic yellow-shade red iron oxides in Asia. Compared to traditional production methods, this process produces significantly less nitrogen oxide, including extremely harmful laughing gas. Furthermore, the remaining greenhouse gas emissions are fully purified by highly efficient post-treatment equipment. “Thus, LANXESS makes a measurable contribution to the environment. Unfiltered laughing gas is currently generated by the Penniman production process for red iron oxide pigments in China accounting for as much as 7,6 million metric tons of CO2-equivalents per year. If every production facility were to use our Ningbo Process the reduction of this greenhouse gas would amount to the total annual CO2 emissions of 300,000 Chinese households,” Hüppeler explains.

According to plan

In its thirteenth five-year plan (2016-2020), China promotes renewable energies and improved utilization of resources to reduce environmental pollution. The government’s goal is to push the Green Manufacturing System in the direction of the Made in China 2025 industrial modernization program over the coming years to catch up with the leading industrial nations. For example, more stringent environmental conditions should lead to a 22% percent reduction in CO2 emissions, an 18% reduction in energy consumption, and a 23% reduction in freshwater consumption. The main industrial pollutant emissions (SO2, NOX, CSB) should decline by 20% by the year 2020.

To achieve these goals, the MIIT launched the National Green Plant certification program in April 2017. As a pre-condition, companies that apply for the certification must comply with environmental protection, safety, and energy saving regulations, and must be accident-free for a defined period of time. The Economy & Information commission checks the applications and recommends the leading applications to the MIIT, which conducts a final review. In the 2018 qualification process, just 460 companies have made it through the preliminary checks carried out by the local Economy & Information commission and have had their applications passed on to the Ministry for final review.

LANXESS stands out from the rest

In the next step, applicants need to prove its leading role in setting highest environmental standards in their industries. Just 200 companies have been awarded the certificate so far in 2018. “The LANXESS Ningbo plant has qualified for the certification by meeting the high standards of the National Green Plant certification in full. This means, among other things, accordance with all laws and regulations in China, and our energy consumption, CO2, and pollutant emissions are far lower than the industry average. Furthermore, the consumption of resources per ton of product is also the lowest within the Chinese iron oxide pigment industry,” stresses Hüppeler.

In addition to an enhanced reputation, the benefits for holders of a National Green Plant certificate include simplified lending and approval for new projects as well as fewer official inspections. “Furthermore, we are the first and only global iron oxide manufacturer to date to receive National Green Plant certification,” Hüppeler adds. “This puts us ahead of our competitors, as other companies will need to redesign their facilities or processes with regard to sustainability and enhanced environmental protection measures if they want to succeed in China over the long term,” the business unit manager says.