Dirk Leinweber, Director Global Research Center Surfactants at Clariant (Switzerland) on the current development of the renewable carbon economy

Interview with Michael Carus, CEO of the nova-Institute

Michael Carus: How has the environment for the Renewable Carbon Economy evolved during the Corona pandemic, climate change and GreenDeal and the Ukraine war? (in terms of demand and investment)

Dirk Leineweber
Dirk Leinweber (Clariant) © nova-Institute

Dirk Leinweber: Climate change has created a major shift in the chemical industry. Clariant, as some peers as well, has set themselves ambitious climate targets according Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). To achieve these targets, a shift towards renewable offerings has been intensified, which can also be seen by our customers. The war in Ukraine has additionally highlighted the economy’s dependency on fossil fuels such as natural gas, and companies such as Clariant are under further pressure to diversify and reduce fossil-based feedstock and fossil-based energy dependency.

Michael Carus: Are there market preferences for any of the three sources of renewable carbon? Biomass first and second generation, biogenic waste, utilisation of CO2 from biogenic and fossil sources and direct air capture or mechanical and chemical recycling?

Dirk Leinweber: To achieve the overarching target of fighting climate change, a number of different technologies will be required. Choosing a technology, will always be a balance of application or industry and technology readiness or suitability. This can be for example using Clariant 2G bio-ethanol (Sunliquid process) to achieve a shift towards renewable fuels. For the synthesis of chemicals, it can be the usage of biogenic waste, but also with sufficient maturity the utilisation of chemicals derived from chemical recycling or carbon capturing.

Michael Carus
Michael Carus (nova-Institute) © nova-Institute

Michael Carus: What would be the most important measures and policy instruments to accelerate the transformation from fossil to renewable carbon?

Dirk Leinweber: Clariant would see a number of measures supporting the transformation, as clear guidance of biogenic uptake on products, clear regulation on chemical recycling and aligned regulations across Europe – including for example waste legislation.
In the end, we as consumers make our own decisions and these are very often based on price and brand – continual education of consumers is therefore important to drive change and further tools to drive decision making (in particular for consumer care) such as product ratings based on carbon footprint et cetera would help.

Michael Carus: Thank you so much for the interview.

Meet Dirk Leinweber at the Renewable Materials Conference 10 – 12 May 2022, Cologne, Germany (hybrid event) and look forward to his presentation
„Surfactants Sustainability Transformation – Drop Ins and Novel Molecular Solutions “ on the 3rd day!

More information: https://renewable-materials.eu


nova-Institute, press release, 2022-05-05.


Clariant International AG
nova-Institut GmbH


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