The rise in the number of ideas and opportunities led the Group to allocate significantly more resources to R&D and Innovation. The Group introduced 90 new products in 2015. 18 of them offer an environmental benefit, while others improve ease of use.
For several years, innovation goals have been factored into our Sustainable Development action plan. These include:
- the development and introduction every year of products with an environmental benefit,
- the measurement, from the design stage, of our innovations’ carbon footprint.
Our ability to combine minerals enables our customers to make significant, quantifiable improvements, e.g. better controlled, more cost-effective production, lower consumption of expensive raw materials, greater energy efficiency, reduced emissions and environmental impact. We also optimize our own processes to increase our productivity, but also limit our energy consumption and carbon emissions and make better use of natural resources.
Many new Imerys products present an environmental, health or safety benefit.
- C-NERGY™, a Range of Additives for Lithium Ion Batteries
Car manufacturers are investing on green cars. Research in the energy domain focuses on new Lithium Ion batteries for the future automotive industry: electric and hybrid vehicles. Imerys Graphite & Carbon is contributing to this progress with C-NERGY™, a range of very high purity graphite and carbon black-based additives used in the production of electrodes for the new generation Lithium Ion batteries.
C-NERGY™ products are being currently tested in the highly demanding environment of ocean racing in the context of a technology partnership between Imerys and The Energy Challenge
. Centered around innovation and energy efficiency, the project's core objective is to develop a self-sufficient, CO2-free energy system which will be tested aboard a race yacht called Imerys
in some of the world’s toughest offshore events in 2016.
In Graphite & Carbon, TIMREX® C-Therm 011 and TIMREX® C-Therm 012 broadened the product portfolio of carbon powders for thermally conductive polymers and engineering composites.
- Reducing Carbon Footprint thanks to Fiberlink™ 101S
In Performance Minerals, FiberLink™ 101S has enhanced the range of calcium carbonate materials used to make nonwoven fibers for the production of disposable wipes for cosmetics, personal care and household products.
- Lighter and stronger ceramic products
In Ceramics, the Ceramic Centre’s work is particularly focused on the development of lighter, stronger products that save raw materials and energy, and of new, more environment-friendly mineral conversion processes. This has led to two patent applications, one in lightweight, innovative ceramic products and one in processing techniques.
- Improving the Efficiency of Thermal Power Stations and Incinerators
Among the year’s innovations, Ceramics' teams launched a mineral additive used as an adjuvant in thermal power stations or incinerators. The additive reacts with ash to make it less chemically aggressive. This limits corrosion and prevents solid concretions from forming in heat exchangers and hot gas ducts. In sum, it reduces facility-maintenance needs and improves heat recovery.
- IMercure™ X10: An Environment-Friendly Wood Coating Additive
IMercure™ X10 improves the performance of UV curable wood coating.
- Recycling Calcium Carbonate Tailings
Efforts to reduce the environmental impact of Imerys products have also prompted to the utilization of mine tailings.