Tanklager RheinChemie

Recycling phenol successfully

Because of its careful and efficient raw material utilization, the “Baden-Wuerttemberg Alliance for Greater Resource Efficiency” has accepted the LANXESS subsidiary Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH of Mannheim onto the list of the 100 Plants for Resource Efficiency.

The Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry of the Environment, teaming up with regional private umbrella organizations, included the phenol recovery project at the Mannheim location in the ranking list of exemplary businesses.
The reason: LANXESS experts succeeded in separating the raw material phenol from a wastewater mixture containing a variety of chemicals. As a result, the recovered phenol can be reused as a starting material for production.
In Mannheim, LANXESS manufactures a chemical that is used in the manufacturing of so-called branched polycarbonates. These plastics are needed, for example, for manufacturing greenhouses and water bottles. In the production of the LANXESS special additive, process-related wastewater mixtures containing a large quantity of phenol are obtained. Phenol is an important basic chemical produced from petroleum, but is toxic and its residues must be disposed of in special waste incineration facilities. A solution to this problem was achieved.

Recovery protects the environment

The advantages of this solution in numbers: Wastewater distillation means that each year, about 150 metric tons less of phenol will be required. Savings are noticeable on the waste side as well. Each year about 150 metric tons less of contaminated waste water will be obtained. In addition, the transportation associated with phenol will be avoided – a total of twelve tankers worth. This corresponds to a savings of about 1000 liters of diesel fuel, or three metric tons less of CO2 per year as a burden on the environment.
“With the recovery of a chemical from waste mixtures we have taken a successful step toward optimizing our material flows management within the framework of a resource analysis. At the same time we save raw fossil materials and reduce environmental risks within the resource chain,“ explains Dr. Rüdiger Herpich, the Head of HSEQ, the LANXESS Business Unit Rhein Chemie ADD.