Teijin’s efforts to realize a sustainable society by being a company that strives for improvement and makes extensive efforts in research and development cannot be overlooked. Since its establishment in 1918, the Teijin Group has overcome many challenges and changes in line with the ever-changing society and environment.
“In 2050, Teijin is set to achieve net-zero emissions.”
In the spirit of collaboration, we at Teijin Carbon work side by side with our partners to create a fully circular value chain. Our goal to make our products net CO₂-free by 2050 goes hand in hand with our commitment to the people most affected by climate change – and to global society to find solutions and take action to combat it.
We work tirelessly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve human safety, and promote a circular economy. Our carbon fiber enables the generation and use of renewable energy, reduces emissions in the mobility and construction sectors, and reduces the consumption of scarce resources.
However, manufacturing high-performance fibers requires the use of energy and raw materials, so clear strategies are needed to develop new sustainable technologies. These approaches include advanced production technologies for the fibers themselves and profitable concepts for their recyclability.
“Life cycle analysis (LCA) provides information on the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle and significantly increases the efficiency of resource use.”
Most important actions of Teijin Carbon Fiber Business Unit
All carbon fiber production processes are energy-intensive. For this reason, the entire carbon fiber production process is monitored and audited in accordance with ISO 50.001 Energy Management System and ISO 14.001 Environmental Management System. In this process, the waste heat generated during carbon fiber production is recovered in a local heat exchanger system and used to air-condition other production facilities.
In order to quantify all energy and mass flows in this energy-intensive production process, life cycle assessments (LCA) are carried out for various carbon fibers and downstream products. Essentially, the LCA balances all environmental aspects along the life cycle of a product from raw material through production and use phases to disposal.
Starting from the localization of energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions, the following approaches are considered:
- Use of CO2-neutral polyacrylonitrile, which is not based on petroleum but on polymers from sustainable sources
- Admixture or even complete use of hydrogen for heating as well as for exhaust air purification instead of natural gas
- Use of renewable electricity for nitrogen production
- CO2-optimized logistics
“Minimizing post-industrial waste by putting by-products, offcuts and scrap to good use – thus, recycling them for the same application or reusing them in other applications.”
Awareness of customers and employees is the key
The market for recycled carbon fiber products grows around 13% per year. Mainly, high-performance and well-defined materials from the aerospace value chain are economically attractive for recycling approaches. Well-defined materials and production steps of high-performance carbon fibers which are supervised by a serious quality management ensure mono-fraction material collection as feedstock for recycling. We continue to focus on upcycling and reuse, so that by-products, scrap, and offcuts are put to good use. For example, Teijin Carbon has developed three different thermoplastic recycling solutions: Compound, Chips, and Crushed. These are reinforced material combinations of recycled Tenax™ carbon fiber material and recycled semi-crystalline polyetheretherketone (PEEK).
“The success of the Teijin Group is largely determined by the commitment and ambition of our employees. We strive to create an environment where diverse, highly skilled, dedicated and entrepreneurial people work together as a driving force to achieve our long-term vision and reach our environmental goals before the finish line whenever possible.”
The challenges require everyone to raise their awareness and make concrete contributions “on the job.” Everyone must take the time to work toward our environmental goals. It is our collective responsibility to implement these medium-term plans and make progress each year.
We are very committed to ensuring that everyone in the value chain develops an awareness of sustainability and works together to achieve it. Committed suppliers, customers, and other partners are sought out, and risks and opportunities are identified throughout the value chain. We firmly believe that everyone has good ideas for improvements in daily operations or even revolutionary innovations. But the challenges are many, and actions need to be prioritized for efficient implementation. All these ambitions will help deliver sustainable products with a positive return on investment.