Specialty chemicals company Lanxess has set itself some ambitious climate targets – including to become climate-neutral by 2040. The company plans to reduce emissions drastically from the company’s own sources, purchase only very low-emission or climate-neutral energy, lower emissions from 3.2 million tons to less than 300,000 tons by 2040, and neutralize these residual emissions through compensation measures.
Lanxess has taken another significant step on the road toward climate neutrality. In early February 2021, it inaugurated a laughing gas reduction plant at our site in Antwerp, Belgium.
Robby Aerts, assistant plant manager at Lanxess in Antwerp and a member of the project team that helped to build the laughing gas reduction plant, said, “Nitrous oxide (N2O) – also known as laughing gas – is produced at the Antwerp site as a by-product in the production of the plastic intermediate caprolactam.“
“It is harmless to people but 300 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. At temperatures of around 1,000 degrees celsius, the plant breaks down the laughing gas into its components nitrogen and oxygen, neutralizing it completely,” he added.
In a second process step, the plant breaks down further nitrogen oxides (NOx). Ammonia is used as a reducing agent for this also. At temperatures between 250 and 450 degrees Celsius, it breaks down the nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and water. The innovative combination of these processes means that the plant is highly thermally efficient.
A second plant is scheduled to enter service in 2023 and is expected to eliminate up to 300,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) every year.
Plan to reduce emissions drastically
In addition to the Antwerp plant, Lanxess is currently implementing further climate protection projects to become climate-neutral by 2040. For example, the Group is switching the entire energy supply at its Indian sites to renewable energy sources. This will involve massively expanding biomass and solar energy utilization while completely phasing out coal and gas. This will cut CO2e emissions by a further 150,000 metric tons starting from 2024.
It is also planning to phase out the use of coal-based energy at our major production sites in Germany. In addition, it plans to invest a total of up to EUR 100 million in climate protection projects by 2025.
In addition, a series of project teams have been set up to explore ways of optimizing many of the existing production processes.