SUSTAINABILITY Role model within the INDUSTRY
Evonik started at an early stage to support its customers with innovative products and solutions to help them take new, sustainable paths to achieve their goals in terms of environmental and climate protection, circularity or biodiversity. With the ambitious target of sustainable chemical production and achieving climate-neutrality for the entire Group, Evonik is investing €700 million in its production processes and infrastructure technology resources by 2030. These next-gen technologies will reduce the resources and energy we use, to lower our production carbon footprint to achieve sustainability. A key part of this investment innovation driver in technology and energy turnaround, is delivering more sustainable production by using less fossil-based resources at our Herne Crosslinkers site.
The green energy transition at Herne includes more sustainable isophorone production with our eCO series of products that use renewable raw material resources, and with its holistic transformation, the long-term ambition of the "Herne Green Deal" is to make the plant completely independent of fossil fuels and fossil-based raw materials. In this way, the site could not only become a role model for sustainable production at Evonik, but for the entire global chemical industry.
Innovative district heating
The award-winning Technical Options for the Recovery of Thermal Energy (TORTE) project will use heat pumps to feed waste heat from production into the district heating network of local energy supplier Uniper for around 1000 homes.
With 17 production plants spanning over 250,000 square meters, as with all chemical production the Herne site produces energy in the form of heat. Capturing this waste heat energy and reducing emissions to optimize production by reusing it, rather than releasing it unused into the atmosphere has long been a sustainable objective of the global chemical industry. No strangers to being pioneers in chemical production and environmental protection, one of the first projects of the climate neutral Herne Green Deal was utilizing heat sustainably by feeding waste heat from its cooling towers (which, so far had been unused because of the low temperature level) into the district heating network. The innovative project, known as TORTE ("Technical Options for Thermal Energy Recovery"), has seen local energy supplier Uniper install a large-scale heat pump at the site and the industrial waste heat from production at Herne will be used to heat more than 1000 local homes.
Commending the innovation as a benchmark for a holistic sustainable transformation for a chemical production site towards green production and environmental protection, the TORTE project was awarded first place at the German chemical industry association’s (the VCI) 2023 Responsible Care competition. The independent jury when explaining its winning verdict said "The use of high-temperature heat pumps for district heating is still absolutely in its infancy - even more so when industrial waste heat is used for this purpose. In this respect, this is a very innovative project."
More about the Responsible Care Award
From waste heat to heating Homes - “Technical Options for Thermal Energy Recovery”
GREEN BUILDING BLOCK FOR SUSTAINABLE WIND ENERGY
Taking the H₂ for hydrogen and referencing the abandoned local Hannibal coal mine, the innovative H₂annibal pilot electrolyzer project will produce green hydrogen for a starting material for sustainable isophorone diamine (IPDA) production at Herne.
As the missing piece of the energy transition puzzle, green hydrogen can be used as a starting material for sustainable production, including to produce our isophorone diamine (IPDA) at Herne. By investing in a pilot electrolyzer to produce green hydrogen, Evonik wants to provide a renewable feedstock for its VESTAMIN® IPDA products which is an important material for wind turbine rotor blades. In an accompanying project and another part of Evonik's environmental Herne Green Deal, Siemens Energy is researching how the new electrolysis technology performs during industrial use in a project consortium with Evonik that started at the end of 2022 and will run until mid-2025. Named H₂annibal - in reference to H₂ for hydrogen and the former Hannibal coal mine in the immediate vicinity, both the investment and the research project have received funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Funding reference: 03HY131B).
Evonik has relied on hydrogen from fossil-based resources in Herne until now, but the goal of the simultaneous projects is to produce green hydrogen sustainably at the site for future IPDA production. The electrolyzer from Siemens Energy, which works by means of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) and powered by renewable energies, can cover up to 45 percent of the demand for hydrogen with green hydrogen, as well as supplying an additional 100 percent of the oxygen required at Herne. The electrolyzer uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and could save up to 12,000 metric tons of CO₂ at the site per year making the Herne site a pioneer in sustainable chemical manufacturing.