"With this innovation project, we want to show that production residues from the leather manufacturing process can be recycled on-site in tanneries and that we can significantly improve the sustainability profile of the leather manufacturing industry. It is much more efficient in comparison with the traditional production of re-tanning agents in production facilities far away from the tanneries," López-Remón, head of the Lanxess business unit, leather.
The association between the institutions is on the realisation of a concept for a modular plant for the production of a re-tanning agent with the brand name 'X-Biomer' from leather off-cuts, trimmings and shavings, up until now generally a waste product for disposal, and plant-based biomass.
"This project is a very promising step towards an even more sustainable production concept," said Dietrich Tegtmeyer, head of the project at Lanxess."While on one hand, ‘on-site’ and ‘just in time’ production brings enormous savings of resources in terms of energy, logistics, and packaging, on the other hand, by-products like shavings containing collagen can be utilised as a raw material for the production of the re-tanning chemicals required."
The three-year joint project with the partners Invite and Heller- Leder & Co has an investment volume totaling €5 million. The modular production plant constructed by Invite is currently being tested under realistic production conditions at the Heller- Leder tannery.
"The aim of the project is to enable us to offer tanners the X-Biomer product with a concept that is not only ecological, but also economically sustainable. Higher production costs as a result of the concept should, for example, be offset by the reduction of logistics- and energy costs. The aim now is to verify the concept model in a pilot phase. In any case, besides this, the project will serve the improvement of sustainability," said Tegtmeyer.
This innovation project received funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as a part of the 'r+Impuls – innovative technologies for resource efficiency – impulses for industrial resource efficiency' initiative. This funding initiative provides support for projects that take innovative technologies and products out of the laboratory and make them commercially viable. (RR)
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