In a World Seeking New Technology, Collaboration Will Bring the Greatest Value

Feb 4, 2021 2:40 PM ET
Summary: 

The Dow Carbon Challenge is further validation of our ambition as a materials science company... to develop new, more sustainable chemistries ...

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Businesses across the world are increasingly searching for low carbon solutions to address climate change. I’ve spent a good part of my career working with others to innovate technology with sustainability benefits. It’s what’s always excited me about coming to work – finding ways to do better for the customer and the planet. Perhaps this comes from my upbringing on a small family farm. At an early age, I learned to preserve resources and be creative with what was available.

At the same time, I’ve felt the purpose in my career expand over the past few years. It will seem obvious when I say it… but innovation doesn’t make large-scale, positive impacts if it isn’t adopted.

My definition of success continues to be redefined and goes beyond delivering a more sustainable product or process. Success is when I can help gain adoption of that technology and deliver even better versions of it over time by listening and learning along the way.

We can do this through collaboration, perhaps in unexpected places.

Embracing collaboration to drive technology adoption

Since 2017, I’ve been able to witness a unique collaboration between Dow and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Our Dow-IOC Carbon Partnership has helped implement carbon reducing projects that create lasting, positive change and continue to inspire action.

While a seemingly unlikely collaboration, it’s been a valuable platform for us to drive technology adoption and innovation through stronger customer relationships.

In particular, we recently wrapped up the Dow Carbon Challenge for our customers who manufacture ethylene oxide (EO). Six manufacturing plants participated in the challenge over the past two years, representing approximately 10% of the global EO annual production capacity.

Their goal? Reduce CO2 emissions and improve plant performance with our METEOR™ EO-RETRO 2000 Catalyst (MR2000).

This catalyst technology reduces CO2 generation and energy consumption when producing EO, which can translate to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. MR2000 also lasts longer than other high selectivity catalysts because of how it maintains its charge.

Reaching beyond a benchmark to create a larger impact

Each of the six participating plants were given a benchmark performance to beat. The benchmark, or target to exceed, was built by modelling the plant’s expected performance when using MR2000 in their production process.

Companies were ranked by who most exceeded their benchmark for at least six consecutive months. We estimate the six participants collectively reduced direct CO2 generation by 248MM lbs beyond their projected annual benchmark – equal to taking 25,000 cars off the road each year.*

Our top three participants who exceeded their targets were selected as winners, and I’m happy to announce they are:

  • Sinopec Sabic Tianjin Petrochemical Company Limited
  • Sinopec Zhenhai Refining & Chemical Company
  • The Kuwait Olefins Company

The winners will receive a climate benefits report by a third-party carbon consultant. In accordance with international standards, the report will help quantify and confirm carbon emission reduction since using MR2000 compared to their previous catalyst. The study may help identify other aspects of operations that could improve environmental sustainability. This is a very useful tool to inspire further action.

Protecting our climate through innovation and collaboration

The Dow Carbon Challenge is further validation of our ambition as a material science company, and my role to advance that ambition. We aspire to develop new, more sustainable chemistries and go a step further to accelerate adoption through collaboration – speeding up efforts to reduce carbon emissions and protect our climate.

Although the challenge has ended, we are just at the beginning. This unique collaboration with the IOC helped accelerate adoption of MR2000 while also identifying ways we could improve our EO catalyst offering. With this mindset, I’m confident we’ll be able to bring a next generation product to the industry, as soon as 2021.

I encourage you to learn more about our catalyst offering and the Dow-IOC Carbon Partnership, as we work together to accelerate positive change together.

Faye Miller, Global Product Director for Licensing & Catalyst

*Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency