UPM Biochemicals and Haertol Chemie announced a development partnership to accelerate the introduction of renewable, sustainable forest sourced materials into the automotive market and reduce fossil resource consumption.

The companies, both based in Germany, have agreed to produce jointly a new range of carbon neutral engine and battery coolants to help automotive manufacturers reduce their CO2 footprint.

UPM is spending EUR750m to build the claimed world first industry scale biorefinery in Leuna, Germany, to convert sustainably sourced, certified woody biomass into new biochemicals to enable a shift away from fossil based to renewable materials across a wide range of industries, including automotive. The biorefinery aims to produce 220,000 tonnes annually in total, with start up targeted to take place by the end of 2023.

UPM’s renewable bio mono-ethylene glycol, (Bio-MEG), BioPura, is produced from sustainably sourced, certified hardwood obtained from forests in the regions around Leuna. The biomass does not compete with food resources and is carbon negative, therefore enabling the claimed first CO2 neutral coolant to be produced. UPM is working on optimising processes and material streams to further reduce emissions and enable carbon neutrality or even negativity of the other products produced in the biorefinery.

Haertol, an engine and battery coolant manufacturer in Europe, will be one of the first customers to integrate the renewable materials into their products.

BioPura will enable the supplier to offer customers, “leading global automotive brands”, a viable option to redefine their net zero targets and significantly reduce their scope three emissions by switching from fossil based, to a renewable, drop in ingredient – allowing them to create a carbon neutral coolant.

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Marco Bergemann, Haertol managing director, said: “MEG is the main ingredient in every coolant (92-95%). This is especially exciting for electric vehicle manufacturers as an EV can require at least two times more coolant for the temperature management of the battery than vehicles with combustion engines, meaning the life cycle assessment of EVs is further improved.”

Haertol’s factory in Magdeburg is 120km from UPM’s facility which itself is located to keep supply chains to European automakers short.