|High-performance polymers provide light, stable materials that also resist high temperatures, and find more and more applications from leisure goods to aerospace.|
The Dreamliner from Boeing marked the launch of a new generation of airliners. Around 50% of the aluminum formerly used in aircraft construction has been replaced by Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composites, which are lighter but at least equally stable. Carmakers like BMW and carbon fiber manufacturers have teamed up to replace major car components with CFRP. These are just two examples of how new materials are revolutionizing the manufacturing industries.
Other applications include the use of nanoparticles to give surfaces additional properties and functionality, making them antistatic or easier to clean. Nanoparticles are also widely used in polymers to increase stability or provide conductivity. Advances in polymer technology continue unabated, and the latest high-performance polymers have unusually high resistance to chemicals and can withstand the kind of high temperatures normally reserved for metals.
All these new, high-performance materials are, essentially, chemical by nature and Clariant is eager to play an important role in their current and future development.
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|The renewable energy sector opens up plenty of attractive opportunities for chemical companies. These include dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), a new type of photovoltaics, which require organic dyes and polymeric films with barrier properties, as well as aluminium mirrors, which are now replacing glass mirrors in some thermal solar power plants. Aluminium mirrors need to be protected against corrosion to retain their high reflection by special chemical coatings.|
Another exciting opportunity are windmill blades made of composite materials, which need to be light but sturdy. This challenge grows since engineers want bigger windmills to impove their efficiency. De-icing coatings are crucial, as ice can lead to an imbalance on the rotor blades.
Another challenge is the future of mobility. For some time now, many companies have shown a growing interest in the production of ethanol from renewable lignocellulosic resources, such as agricultural residues. These resources do not compete with food and feed crops, but are created in sufficient quantities worldwide more or less as a by-product, as in the case of straw from cereal production. As yet, it has not however been possible to successfully develop a cellulosic ethanol process that is also economically profitable. Clariant's sunliquid® process meets all requirements of a technically and economically efficient, innovative process for converting agricultural residues into climate-friendly biofuel.
Finally, we are facing the challenge of energy storage: energy supply from some of the most important alternative sources like wind power or photovoltaics is dependent on weather conditions. To exploit its full potential storage is vital and the chemical industry is a key enabler for new technical solutions.
|The fundamental building block for modern rechargeable batteries is material that provides superior electrochemical performance and enhanced safety and affordability. The combination of these critical properties meets the clean energy and mobility needs of today.|
The cathode material made from Lithium Iron Phosphate, LiFePO4, or for short LFP, is the only inherently safe cathode material discovered to date and is known as Life Power®.
This high power cathode material delivers superior performance, safety and cycle-life in all energy storage applications. The unique safety performance is a result of the high stability of Lithium Iron Phosphate in discharged as well as in charged form. Excessive heating during battery use and even spontaneous ignition, which was observed in rare cases with conventional Lithium Ion materials can be excluded. This can be translated to lower system cost with less demand on the energy management systems in the final product.
In particular, LFP is emerging as the preferred material for batteries for electro-mobility due to its intrinsic safety, high power, and fast-charging capability. For stationary applications, batteries based on LFP can provide the storage needed to manage the variable power generation of renewable sources such as wind and solar energy. Besides safety,long-life is a key demand from the market.
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