The trend of sustainability for the chemical industry
- Article Author: Dr. Jane Her / Vice president of Fine Chemical Division
Responsible consumption and production
Sustainability has become a popular vocabulary in various fields in recent years. As the problem of global warming and climate change intensifies, rethinking resources are limited, changing the attitude and method of using resources has become a new famous doctrine in various industries. The chemical industry faces two major challenges in this trend of sustainability: the first is how to reduce resource consumption; the second is how to reduce or even eliminate the harm to the environment. According to the 17 sustainable development goals of the "2030 Sustainable Development Policy" proposed by the United Nations, the twelfth one is responsible consumption and production.
The origin of Taiwan’s chemical industry is very early. During the Japanese occupation, there were oil refineries and fertilizer industries. Since the 1960s, the scale of the petrochemical industry chain in Taiwan has been gradually expanded. In the early years when economic development was in command, the chemical industry brought growth and prosperity to Taiwan. However, it also caused a number of industrial safety and environmental protection incidents, this situation leading the general public, scholars, and experts to generally believe that the chemical industry is a high-pollution and high-energy-consuming neighboring industry. According to research results published by Ching-Ter Chang and Hsing-Chen Lee (2016), the chemical industry is the highest proportion of energy consumption in Taiwan, but energy productivity (EP, refers to the output value created per unit of energy consumption) and Carbon dioxide emission productivity (CP, refers to the output value created per unit of carbon emissions) performance is the worst. In fact, even in advanced countries such as Europe, America, and Japan, there are many cases of irreversible environmental impacts left by the chemical industry in the early stages of development. Therefore, when "sustainable development" becomes a universal value recognized by the world, the chemical industry must Only with greater efforts than other industries can we reverse our adverse effects on the sustainable development of the earth.
Actively respond, Never escape
HOPAX has been deep in innovation and experience in the chemical industry for nearly half of a century. In face of sustainable development issues, our attitude is to respond actively and never escape. For this reason, we have invested many years of effort to continue to develop a more environmentally friendly manufacturing process. In the past three years, we have successively built solvent recovery and recycling facilities, and the total reduction in solvent consumption has reached more than 5,000 tons; continuous improvement in product process technology, reducing the excess proportion of reactants by 20-40%, and greatly increasing the reaction rate to more than 95 %. In addition, some products have successfully developed a pure water phase process, avoiding environmental impacts from the original process design, and moving toward the goal of reducing waste at the source.
The starting of technological investment in these environmentally friendly manufacturing processes is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Although we have invested a lot of R&D resources and equipment, we always insist that as long as "Do the right thing"! We are very encouraged by the results of these substantial improvements with more and more new equipment and new technologies have been introduced. Not only achieved our initial goal of reducing the environmental impact but also improved product quality and reduced costs. To play an active role, let's walk more steadily on the road to continuous improvement in the future.
Push forward the recycling and reuse of chemicals
In the future, besides the continuous efforts of our internal technical team, we will also extend the reach of achieving sustainable development goals to the integration of external resources. Through communication and learning with peers, different industries, or customers, we have gained more the possibility of recycling, although HOPAX is a small scale company and cannot promote the internal circular economy like some large chemical companies, we can also make good use of the circular economy structure through cooperation with peers, different industries, or customers. , Convert by-products or waste into energy resources, re-giving new value, and further reduce the impact of the entire production activity on the environment. We hope that in the foreseeable future, HOPAX can achieve the goal of zero emissions and redefine the role of a responsible chemical manufacturer: Clean processes, create customer value, and provide positive feedback to all stakeholders.
Further Reading:From green production to sustainable development
Further Reading: Recycling and reuse for chemistry
Further Reading: Green production process - High effciency RD system
Dr. Jane Her / Vice president of Fine Chemical Division
 Ching-Ter Chang, Hsing-Chen Lee (2016), Taiwan’s renewable energy strategy and energy-intensive industrial policy, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 64, Pages 456-465