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Comment Sustainability

SK Geo Centric, Neste and Covestro cooperate to create value chain for renewable MDI feedstock

By Mary Page Bailey |

SK Geo Centric (Seoul, South Korea), Neste Corp. (Espoo, Finland) and Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany) are cooperating to enable the production of a major polyurethane raw material based on renewable raw materials via mass balance. The cooperation will see Neste provide SK Geo Centric with renewable Neste RE, an ISCC certified feedstock for polymers and chemicals made from 100% renewable raw materials such as waste and residue oil and fats. SK Geo Centric will process this feedstock into benzene at the company’s facilities in South Korea and supply it to Covestro to use as raw material for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) at its site in Shanghai, China. MDI is a key raw material for the manufacture of rigid polyurethane foam, which is a well-proven insulating material for buildings and used in the cold chain helping to save CO2 emissions and reduce energy consumption during its product life.

The cooperation marks the start of possible future collaborations between the three companies, aiming at replacing fossil feedstocks by more sustainable ones in the production of polymers and chemicals in the APAC region and beyond.

“With renewable solutions available, we are now entering the phase of scaling up their usage in the chemical industry,” says Mercedes Alonso, Executive Vice President, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste. “This will be crucial in replacing the vast amounts of fossil resources the industry is currently depending on. To make this ramp-up a success, we’ll need to establish collaborations along the value chain – and this one between three sustainability-minded partners is a prime example of how the industry can do just that.”

Replacing the common crude oil based fossil feedstock with Neste RE provides a significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thereby improving the carbon footprint of the polyurethane raw materials produced by Covestro and of downstream industries. Neste RE is produced with renewable raw materials such as waste and residue oils and fats.

“I am much pleased that through this collaboration we continue to ramp up the market for such sustainable alternative materials. This enables us to supply our customers in Asia-Pacific with more sustainable MDI based on mass-balanced raw materials,” says Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer of Covestro. “Using such materials is attractive because it will also help them achieve their climate goals. Another core benefit of this line of products is that it is a technical drop-in solution that our customers can use immediately without a major changeover in their plants.”

“We are delighted to ship and export our first renewable-Benzene produced with 100% renewable Neste RE feedstock,” said Choi Woo-hyuk, Leader of Aromatic Business Unit, SK Geo Centric. “SK Geo Centric will actively work with Covestro and Neste as we mark the first collaboration of this kind in the Asia-Pacific region. We remain committed to expanding this cooperation.”

Under the strategy of ‘Green for Better Life’, SK Geo Centric announced its ambitious target to become ‘Net-Zero’ before 2050. To fulfill its responsibility, the company will drive its business transformation by expanding its high-quality renewable products portfolio. SK Geo Centric will respond to increasing global demands in the market by leveraging the strong synergies between collaboration partners.

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