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Leading by example: 3 companies that are using ‘green chemistry’ to improve sustainability

The Indian chemical industry is on the rise. Driven by India’s pitch for attractive investment destination and the use of chemicals din industrial operations and manufacturing, the demand of the chemical industry is expected to drive further.


As per a report by India ChemStrategy and FICCI, the country’s chemical industry is expected to grow at around nine percent and touch $304 billion by FY25 from FY18.


Although the figures are healthy for the economic growth of the country, the environment risks associated with the chemical sector cannot be ignored.


Industries across several sectors use hazardous chemicals and chemical processes and leave behind pollutants that get discharged in land and water. The chemical reactions during many processes release toxic chemicals, resulting in smog, ozone depletion, basically the planet at large.


Taking cognizance of the several issues, many companies have started taking the ‘green chemistry’ approach.


As the name suggests, green chemistry reduces and to an extent eliminate the production and use of hazardous substances in mining and in the design, manufacture and application of chemical products. It also encourages energy savings and a better environment and health.


Meanwhile, adopting to green chemistry has its own advantages. As per United States Environment Protection Agency, green chemistry encourages cleaner air, water, consumer products and lowers potential of global warming, use of hazardous waste landfills.


However, there’s a long way to go for government agencies and companies to take green chemistry seriously. But, leading by examples are these three companies that are using green chemistry and doing their bit for climate action.

Here’s a look:

Schneider Electric

The company is committed to green manufacturing and offers world class energy management solutions, empowering users to manage energy consumption with greater precision and accuracy, reducing operational costs and improving profits. The company offers a suite of on-site and Cloud based energy management system that are designed to meet the needs of a varied customer base right from a small business to a large multinational company. Its smart factory program applies ‘ecostruxure’ solutions across the global supply chain to drive both operational and energy efficiencies. The offerings can help quantify the carbon dioxide emissions of the clients who can take actions to curb their carbon footprint.


Godrej Locks & Architectural Fittings and Systems

The company at its eco-friendly manufacturing unit in Goa has adopted green chemistry for manufacturing locks. A process for ion exchange has been installed for selective heavy metal removal, making it extremely energy efficient. It also has an online automated effluent treatment plant where eco-hazard materials have been replaced with more bio-sensitive alternatives. The green chemistry technique utilizes trivalent chrome, which is non-cyanide based, instead of environmentally hazardous hexavalent chromium. Similarly, alkaline copper system is utilized in the plating process rather than the hazardous cyanide copper. Most of the materials that are used are recycled (brass, Mazak, etc). The processed scrap is sent back to the smelter to convert into raw material again for further use.


Swedish Steel India

Through its HYBRIT initiative, Swedish Steel India has taken up green chemistry/manufacturing initiative, which intends to replace coking coke with hydrogen in the steel manufacturing process. The steel industry is one of the highest carbon dioxide emitting industries, accounting for 7% of total emissions globally. HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology) aims to replace coal with hydrogen in the steelmaking process that will replace the current blast furnace process. Currently, coke is used to convert the iron ore to iron but in the new process the coke will be replaced by hydrogen gas that is produced with fossil free energy sources. The by-product will be water, which in turn, can be recovered for the production of hydrogen gas. As per the company, the reduction reactions in ironmaking represent around 85-90% of the total carbon dioxide emissions in the ore-based steelmaking value chain. In the case of HYBRIT, iron metal is produced by using hydrogen gas as the main reductant.

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