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Celanese Ethylene-Based VAM Technology Helps China Facility Reduce Its Carbon Footprint

Celanese has taken strategic steps to help lower its environmental footprint in China, reducing carbon emissions and energy and water use, through its ethylene-based Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) technology.

VAM is used as an intermediate to manufacture industrial polymers and resins for paper coatings, water-based paints, adhesives, films, textiles and other end products.  Today in China, only 21 percent of VAM technology is ethylene based, and demand for VAM is anticipated to increase to around 0.18 million metric tons over the next five years.

Use of ethylene-based VAM technology at Celanese’s plant in Nanjing to replace traditional VAM technology is having positive environmental impacts, reducing carbon emissions and energy and water use. The ethylene-based VAM technology uses 20 percent less steam, 70 percent less cooling water and 11 percent less electricity than the prior technology.  In addition, carbon emission per ton of ethylene-based VAM production is approximately 37 percent lower than the former process. From 2017 to 2019, Celanese’s Nanjing VAM production unit has reduced energy intensity by 7.5 percent and GHG emissions by 7.3 percent.

Ethylene-based VAM technology also produces fewer types and quantities of impurities than the traditional VAM, typically used in downstream applications such as coating and food packaging.

In 2020, Celanese’s ethylene-based VAM technology received designation as a Green Technology in China for its low carbon emissions, low energy consumption, low content of heavy components and high product quality.  The China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation, representing Chinese national chemical manufacturing companies, announced this designation in its Directory for Petrochemical Green Technology, which helps guide Chinese government and financial institutions in making technology and policy decisions.

About the Author
American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.

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