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Henkel and Covestro: Sustainable adhesives for timber components
[Feb 28, 2024]

Henkel and Covestro cooperate on sustainable adhesives for wood components (Image: Henkel/ Sindre Ellingsen)

The German chemical companies Henkel and Covestro are joining forces to promote the sustainability of adhesives in load-bearing timber construction. To this end, Covestro is providing Henkel with polyurethane-based materials. These are based on bio-attributed raw materials that are allocated using mass balancing. Henkel then uses these for high-performance adhesive solutions.

Adhesives play their part in the use of wood in the construction sector - making buildings more sustainable. As wood is a natural material, its properties are just as naturally subject to greater fluctuations than most synthetically produced materials. For example, it is susceptible to deformation, which affects its aesthetics and functionality and therefore its use in load-bearing or other demanding applications. This is solved by technologies and processes for bonding different layers of wood, such as cross-lamination or finger-jointing, using polyurethane adhesives. This makes it possible to produce wooden panels that retain their strength, shape and functionality over time. The increased use of alternative raw materials can therefore further improve the carbon footprint of these materials. "Cooperation along the value chain with like-minded partners is the key to enabling a circular and climate-neutral world. Materials play an important role in this - for example when it comes to reducing the carbon footprint of buildings. With Henkel's new adhesive based on more sustainable materials from Covestro, we are jointly contributing to the transformation of the construction industry towards sustainability," says Dr. Thomas Roemer, Head of the Coatings and Adhesives business unit at Covestro.

"This is another step towards an increasingly sustainable and circular future. Thanks to our collaboration with Covestro, we are able to produce and offer two of our best-selling polyurethane adhesives using alternative raw materials. In addition, and by applying the mass balance approach, the properties and certifications of the adhesives are maintained. This allows us to immediately offer our direct customers as well as architects and contractors a solution to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings through more sustainable materials," says Dr. Claudia Meckel, Head of Product Development for Henkel's Engineered Wood business. Both Henkel and Covestro treat sustainability and the promotion of a circular economy as a high priority. For Covestro, broadening the raw material base with bio-based or recycled solutions is an important part of this endeavor. Since alternative raw materials are mixed with conventional raw materials at various points in the chemical production process and it is then difficult to clearly allocate them to individual products, the alternative raw material used is allocated to the end products using the mass balance approach. This is a method that makes it possible to mix traditional and alternative raw materials during production, but to document them in accounting terms across all processing steps and thus allocate them to products. The accuracy and conformity of this approach is externally certified by the internationally recognized ISCC PLUS standard. For the wood adhesive, all Henkel and Covestro sites and partners involved are certified to this standard.