Surfactant production and use in Germany: resource requirements and CO2 emissions

Citation
Mk. Patel et al., Surfactant production and use in Germany: resource requirements and CO2 emissions, RESOUR CON, 25(1), 1999, pp. 61-78
Citations number
23
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Environment/Ecology,"Environmental Engineering & Energy
Journal title
RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING
ISSN journal
0921-3449 → ACNP
Volume
25
Issue
1
Year of publication
1999
Pages
61 - 78
Database
ISI
SICI code
0921-3449(199901)25:1<61:SPAUIG>2.0.ZU;2-E
Abstract
Surfactants (surface-active agents) can be derived from both petrochemical feedstocks and renewable resources (e.g. oleochemicals). Renewable resource s have the advantage that they contribute less to the greenhouse effect if harvested and grown sustainably. When comparing the contribution to the gre enhouse effect, the life-cycle of the product should be analysed, covering the CO2 emissions from production, use and degradation after disposal. In t his paper, the use phase is only included for washing and cleaning agents s ince it is practically impossible to cover all the utilization processes fo r surfactants. At present, biomass-derived raw materials account for about one third of the material feedstocks for surfactant production in Germany. Within this partial life-cycle inventory, it was calculated that fossil CO2 emissions of the commercially most important surfactants produced in Germa ny amounted to 1.5 Mt in 1996 (versus total chemical industry emissions of 125 Mt, including the equivalents of feedstock energy). Already today, the production of oleochemical feedstocks avoids the emission of 0.35 Mt of fos sil CO2 p.a. (1996). Total substitution of oleochemical surfactants for pet rochemical surfactants would enable a further reduction of 34%, reducing ab solute emissions to 0.99 Mt. This is an overestimation of today's technical potential, but it might be attainable in the longer term. For surfactant a pplications in laundry detergents, lowering wash temperatures is also an in teresting strategy to reduce CO2 emissions. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.