Awards – Plastics from Plants – Outdoor Industry Award

Innovation prize for plastics from plants

Covestro has received an innovation award offered by the German government and industry for a research breakthrough in the production of plastics from renewable raw materials. This makes the materials manufacturer one of the hundred winners of the Germany-wide competition “Excellent Landmarks in the Land of Ideas”. The prize was awarded for a newly developed process for producing the important basic chemical aniline from plants instead of crude oil. Covestro is leading a research project with partners from industry and science.

The company received the award on June 4, 2018 in Berlin, Gemany at an event organized by “Germany – Land of Ideas”. With this initiative, the Federal Government and German industry want to draw attention to the innovative power and efficiency of Germany as a business location. In this year’s competition, which has been held since 2013, around 1,500 applications were submitted. According to the organizers, the winners demonstrate “how forward-looking innovations are created through experimentation, curiosity and the courage to rethink”.

Plastic from plants: An interdisciplinary team led by Covestro researcher Dr. Gernot Jäger (center) has developed a highly sustainable new production process for the chemical aniline, which is used in foam insulation boards. For this achievement, the company has now been awarded an innovation prize by the German government and industry.

Innovations for more sustainability

“We are very pleased to receive this award. It continues to spur us on to contribute to greater sustainability with innovative products, processes and solutions in order to make the world a brighter place,” says Covestro CEO Dr. Markus Steilemann. “This success with bioaniline is also clearly a joint effort and shows how important and useful cooperation in chemistry and industry as a whole is.”

Insulating with plants: A research team led by Covestro has developed a highly sustainable production process for the chemical aniline. It can be used to produce insulation boards from rigid foam such as this sample. In recognition of this new technology, Covestro has now received an innovation award from the German government and industry.

As part of the project, Covestro is cooperating with Bayer, the CAT Catalytic Center in Aachen and the University of Stuttgart. In order to produce aniline from plant biomass, the research consortium led by Covestro has developed a completely new process that combines biotechnology and chemistry. Up to now the chemical, which serves as the starting material for numerous products, has been produced worldwide exclusively from fossil raw materials such as crude oil.

After the success in the laboratory and in the first pilot plants, the partners now want to further develop the technology. The ultimate goal is to enable the production of biobased aniline on an industrial scale – an absolute novelty in the plastics industry.

Last year, Covestro was named one of the 50 most innovative companies of the year by the German edition of the science magazine Technology Review.

With 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16200 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2017.


OutDoor Industry Award: Decision time

37 winners at the 13th OutDoor Industry Award – Eleven Gold Awards – Prize ceremony first night of OutDoor 2018

247 products were submitted for this year’s OutDoor Industry Award. These new and innovative products were judged by an expert panel to decide on the 2018 OutDoor Industry Awards. After two exciting and intense days in Friedrichshafen, the judges decided on the winners of this year’s OutDoor Industry Awards. A total of 37 products were selected to receive an award. Eleven of these winning products have been further singled out for their exceptional design – the Gold Award winners.

Jurors at work

OutDoor in Friedrichshafen is one of the leading international industry trade shows. This is also reflected in the widespread recognition that the OutDoor Industry Award enjoys in expert circles. During the 13th edition of the award, the six-member expert panel once again debated the merits of the latest trend-setting products and technologies entered, according to their degree of innovation, sustainability and functionality. During the run up to the two-day session, a group of twelve judges had initially evaluated all entries in a digital assessment round to select the 193 finalists.

Having just finished the jury meeting for 2018, long serving jury member and board member of the European Outdoor Group, Mark Held had this to say: “Innovation is a strange thing that comes in a huge variety of forms, from incremental, to thought process and occasionally, step change innovation. The jury for this year’s award really had their work to do as the sheer variety and scope of innovation was there and blindingly obvious for all to see. This of course makes the task of the jury really quite a difficult one as they had to try and choose between a lot of really, really good product. So from fibrE developments on the one hand, to bold, public statements about the ethics of the supply chain on the other, it was a really impressive range of products and I’m excited to see that outdoor sector is developing so quickly. As ever, the awards process was brilliantly organised by Messe Friedrichshafen and the jury itself, was an excellent balance of skills and experience. There is lot for the visitor of this years show to discover.”

Jurors’ Team

“I was delighted to be a member of the judge’s panel. Spending two days testing and evaluating products and debating their pros and cons with other industry experts was a unique experience,” says Anny Cardinahl, founder of consultancy firm Outdoor Deluxe. Her fellow judge Ana Kristiansson, design expert and founder of Swedish online learning platform Sportswear Inc., adds: “The whole process was very smooth and efficient, and I learnt a lot. I was particularly impressed by the number of manufacturers who have now moved to sustainable production.”

The other judges were Frank Wacker, equipment editor at Germany’s Outdoor magazine, David Pickford, British climber, author and journalist and Spanish ski mountaineer and trail runner Marc Pinsach.

“I was impressed by how well the judges complemented each other this year,” comments Dirk Heidrich, OutDoor project manager. “Due to the very different backgrounds of the six experts, the products triggered intense and productive discussions. Ultimately, the judges were able to reach a consensus on the winners. I feel that their final selection reflects the huge diversity of innovation in the outdoor industry, in all its different aspects.”

The OutDoor Industry Award and Gold Award winning products are to be announced in the near future: on 17 June – day one of the OutDoor show. The award exhibition will be on display in Foyer East at Messe Friedrichshafen. The prize ceremony which starts at 17.30 also is also held in the Foyer Ost when the Gold Award winners will be announced.

The 25th OutDoor jubilee edition show takes place from Sunday 17 to Wednesday 20 June 2018, and is open to trade visitors only (with the exception of the German Bouldering Championships on 16/17 June in Hall B5 and the Midsummer Festival at the lakeside promenade).