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LANXESS celebrates the “International Year of Chemistry”
Plans talks and outreach activities for students and the general public to “bring chemistry to life”
By: Maggie Tan
The IYC is an initiative of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The opening ceremony to launch the yearlong celebration took place on 27 January at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Incidentally, the year 2011 commemorates the 100th anniversary of Marie Sklodowska-Curie's receipt of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry as well as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the IUPAC.
LANXESS is planning a series of activities around the world to inspire greater interests in chemistry studies among students and create greater awareness of the impact of chemistry in our daily lives among the general public. Singapore will be a key location for the company’s celebration of the IYC. Here, LANXESS has set up its global headquarters for the Butyl Rubber business unit and is building a butyl rubber plant on Jurong Island. The new plant, which will require an investment of EUR 400 million (US$575 million), will be the largest of its kind in Asia.
Kaye Lim, LANXESS’ Vice President of Corporate Communications for the Asia Pacific region, says, “Many people, including students, are not conscious that chemistry is at work in many aspects of our daily life. Under the “LANXESS Brings Chemistry to Life” programme in Singapore, we will organize talks and hands-on activities for students and the general public to experience how chemistry translates into improvements for both humans and the environment.”
Lim adds, “Creating awareness is the first step, ultimately we hope more people will pursue their career in the chemical sector, which is playing a pivotal role in defining and shaping current social and global megatrends.”
LANXESS has identified four core megatrends that will strongly influence the company’s activities in years to come: increased mobility, rapid urbanization, more demand for clean water and more demand for food.
The increasing demand for mobility, primarily in China, India and other large developing countries, is one of the most powerful megatrends today. India, China, and Brazil—with their rapidly growing production industries and ever-larger vehicle fleets—are becoming world-class automotive powers. Yet, ensuring that this trend is as climate-friendly as possible is a major challenge.
LANXESS—the inventor of synthetic rubber—is one of the leading materials suppliers for performance and high-performance tires, which are the fastest-growing segments in the tire industry. Tires made from LANXESS’ high-performance rubbers are more resistant to skidding and also feature reduced rolling resistance. That increases safety on wet roads and saves fuel.
Modern lightweight engineering is absolutely essential for anyone who wishes to improve the efficiency of mobility for millions of people. The automotive sector is not the only area where new materials are lowering weight without sacrificing safety; the aviation and rail transport sectors are also benefiting.
Composite materials that combine metals and plastics are not only lighter, but also in many ways better than conventional sheet metal. For example, LANXESS’ Semi-Crystalline Products business unit is working closely with the automobile industry to improve fuel efficiency, crash safety, and design. LANXESS’ Durethan® plastic product, for instance, is used for the manufacture of injection-molded components for some of the latest Audi models. As a result, the weight of specific modules can be reduced by up to 50 percent.
Chemistry also helps when it comes to the production of fuel. Biodiesel made from renewable raw materials makes mobility more carbon-neutral because after combustion, the amount of CO2 emitted is equivalent to the amount that was absorbed by the organic materials as they grew.
With the help of chemical substances, almost any oil can now be processed into environmentally friendly biodiesel, and special antioxidants, such as Baynox® from LANXESS, ensure that the biofuel can be stored longer. These additives enable especially sensitive oils such as those extracted from soybeans or Jatropha, which grows in profusion in India, to be processed into biodiesel that is suitable for everyday use. This opens up completely new “oilfields”
All around the world, more and more people are moving to big cities. By 2070, according to United Nations forecasts, about 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities.
Fortunately, the chemical sector is working on solutions to meet these extreme requirements. LANXESS’ construction-
LANXESS is also working to ensure that the infrastructure of rising megacities develop in perfect balance with their growing populations. Materials for flameproof electrical installation and efficient cabling, as well as innovative solutions such as a transparent rubber that opens up new opportunities in external lighting, are just some of the many ways that LANXESS is stepping up to meet the urbanization challenge.
The shortage of clean water has now become a global problem. Experts forecast that population growth, air pollution, and climate change will all exacerbate the situation. Studies show that in 20 years the demand for clean water will exceed the current supply by about 40 percent. Within just a few decades, water will be as valuable a resource as petroleum.
Products and processes from LANXESS are already used for water treatment worldwide, helping companies and communities alike utilize water as efficiently as possible. These products play an important role in the purification and treatment of drinking water, wastewater and industrial process water. High-efficiency ion exchange resins from LANXESS’ Lewatit® product family, for example, remove toxic impurities such as arsenic from drinking water and make possible recycling processes that save water.
Due to continued global population growth, the world must focus on producing more food to meet increased demand. In fact, according to calculations by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), production must increase by around 70 percent by 2050—when the world will be home to more than nine billion people. This will be no easy task
Since the middle of the 20th century, the agricultural sector has achieved immense gains in productivity per hectare. Alongside mechanization, irrigation, and advanced breeding technologies, solutions from the chemical industry have also contributed to the better nourishment of countless people without substantially increasing the area of land under cultivation. At the end of the day, it is clear that the combination of efficient fertilizers and protection against pests and diseases have made food supplies the world over more secure.
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LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 5.06 billion in 2009 and currently around 14,700 employees in 24 countries. The company is represented at 45 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. More information at http://www.lanxess.sg.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by LANXESS AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.