Heraeus Precious Metals among the winners of the Responsible Care regional competition

Hanau, 13th July 2023

  • Thanks to the conversion of individual production processes, the precious metals division of the Heraeus Group is reducing its annual CO2 emissions by 2,500 tons.

Heraeus Precious Metals has won third place in the renowned Responsible Care competition organized by the Hesse Chemical Industry Association. During the members' meeting at Schloss Biebrich in Wiesbaden/Hesse, the association selected the winners of the 2023 regional competition.

award ceremony
© VCI Hessen/Arne Landwehr

Under the motto "Our sustainable and economical use of energy", Hessian chemical and pharmaceutical companies were invited to submit their energy-saving projects. The energy efficiency program initiated by Heraeus Precious Metals at the Hanau site is contributing to this transformation: With the help of the change in technology in individual production processes, around one million cubic meters of natural gas can be saved annually. This reduces annual CO2 emissions by around 2,500 tons.

To this end, the company has analyzed all production facilities at the Hanau site with regard to their CO2 emissions and has begun to convert the facilities with the highest values from natural gas to green electricity. Among other things, this involves the chamber furnaces in which Heraeus Precious Metals processes precious metal-bearing material. Together with the manufacturer, the project team has developed a new chamber furnace that, unlike conventional furnaces, is heated electrically. In addition, the new furnace allows about 60 percent of the energy used to be recovered. The furnace is currently being built and is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2024.

Another component of the project is the company's new thermal oil plant, where platinum and palladium are recovered from reformer catalysts. In future, it will be powered by green electricity, which will significantly reduce CO2 emissions. At the same time, energy consumption can be reduced by about 20 percent thanks to innovative technologies.

Responsible Care regional competition
© VCI Hessen/Arne Landwehr

"We are proud to be among this year's winners of the Responsible Care Award of the VCI Landesverband Hessen," emphasizes Thorsten Grimm, Head of Global Engineering Chemicals at Heraeus Precious Metals. "This award encourages us to continue the sustainable transformation of our company."

Carbon neutral by 2025

The award-winning projects are part of Heraeus Precious Metals' global action plan. The company has set itself the goal of operating in a CO2-neutral manner from 2025 onwards and to completely dispense with the use of fossil fuels from 2033 onwards. Already today, more than 60 percent of the company’s worldwide electricity demand comes from renewable sources. This figure is to rise to 100 percent by 2025. Heraeus Precious Metals has thus decided for one of the most ambitious sustainability programs in the industry and is striving to play a pioneering role in the precious metals industry.

What is Responsible Care?

Voluntarily doing more than laws and regulations require. This is the objective of the worldwide initiative of the German chemical industry. It stands for the continuous improvement of health protection, environmental protection, safety and security in the companies and thus makes an important contribution to more sustainability. The annual Responsible Care Award is part of the sustainability initiative Chemie³ of the German chemical industry.

This year, the jury consisted of Martina Feldmayer, Member of the State Parliament Hesse, Gerhard Eppler, State Chairman of NABU Hessen, and Dr. Christian Hey from the Hessian Ministry of the Environment. They had made the pre-selection from all the submissions, from which the winners were chosen during the festive assembly.