/ Biodiversity

In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development adopted the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This convention addresses the preservation of biological diversity (genes, species and habitats), the sustainable exploitation of such diversity, as well as access rules to, and the sharing of benefits from, genetic resources (access and benefit sharing). So far, the CBD has been signed by 168 countries and the EU (with Germany becoming a signatory in 1993). In May 2011, the EU Commission published its biodiversity strategy to 2020.

/ Biotechnology

Biotech processes use living cells or enzymes to transform and produce substances. Depending on the application, a distinction is made between red, green and white biotechnology. Red biotechnology: medical and pharmaceutical applications. Green biotechnology: agricultural applications. White biotechnology: biotech-based products and industrial processes, e.g. in the chemical, textile and food industries.

/ Carbon dioxide (CO2)

This gas naturally constitutes 0.04% of air. Carbon dioxide is generated during the combustion of coal, natural gas and other organic substances. As a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, it contributes to global warming. Since the start of industrialization (ca. 1850), its concentration in air has risen from approximately 300 to 390 ppm (parts per million). This value is increasing by around 2 ppm every year.

/ Chemical oxygen demand (COD)

COD is a measure of wastewater contamination. This parameter defines the amount of oxygen necessary to fully oxidize all organic material in wastewater.

/ Chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHCs)

Organic compounds containing chlorine. They are used, for example, in the manufacture of plastics and solvents. CHCs are chemically stable and fat-soluble; some of them are environmental toxins.

/ Chlorosilanes

Compounds of silicon, chlorine and hydrogen. The semiconductor industry mainly uses trichlorosilane to make polysilicon and for the epitaxial deposition of silicon.

/ Combined heat and power plant

Combined heat and power (CHP) plants generate both electricity and useful heat. With this system, the input energy (e.g. fuel oil or natural gas) can be used much more efficiently than in conventional systems with separate facilities. Thanks to this conservation of primary energy, CHP plants emit significantly less carbon dioxide than conventional power plants.

/ Cyclodextrins

Cyclodextrins belong to the family of cyclic oligosaccharides (i.e. ring-shaped sugar molecules). They are able to encapsulate foreign substances, such as fragrances, and to release active ingredients at a controlled rate. WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS produces and markets cyclodextrins.

/ Cysteine

Cysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid. It belongs to the non-essential amino acids, as it can be formed in the body. It is used, for example, as an additive in food and cough mixtures. Cysteine and its derivatives are a business field at WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS.

/ Dispersible polymer powders

Created by drying dispersions in spray or disc dryers. VINNAPAS® polymer powders from WACKER POLYMERS are recommended as binders in the construction industry, e.g. for tile adhesives, self-leveling compounds and repair mortars. The powders improve adhesion, cohesion, flexibility and flexural strength, as well as water-retention and processing properties.

/ Distillation

Distillation is used to separate the components of liquid mixtures. The process is based on differences in the liquids’ boiling points.

/ Ethylene

Ethylene is a colorless, slightly sweet-smelling gas that, under normal conditions, is lighter than air. It is needed as a chemical starting product for a great many synthetic materials, including polyethylene and polystyrene. It is used to make products for the household, agricultural and automotive sectors. For environmental and safety reasons, ethylene is transported through pipelines.

/ Exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS)

Systems for thermally insulating buildings and thus for increasing energy efficiency. EIFS are made up of a combination of materials: adhesive mortar, insulation board, base coat, glass-fiber mesh and finish coat. VINNAPAS® polymer powders from WACKER POLYMERS ensure that the insulation material bonds firmly to the mortar and finish coat. As a result, the insulating systems offers greater durability and much more resistance to weathering and wear.

/ Fermentation

In biotechnology, fermentation involves the metabolic conversion of biological materials by means of bacteria, fungi (including yeast) and cell cultures, or their chemical conversion by the addition of enzymes. Starting materials for this process are called ferments.

/ Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol

The GHG Protocol is an internationally recognized instrument for quantifying and controlling greenhouse gas emissions. The standards outlined in the GHG Protocol have been jointly developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) since 1998. The GHG Protocol specifies how an organization should calculate its greenhouse-gas emissions and how emission-reducing programs should be conducted.

/ Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD)

A chlorinated organic compound which, at room temperature, is a colorless liquid with a mild odor. It occurs as a by-product in certain chemical production and combustion processes, such as the synthesis of tetrachloroethene, tri­­chloro­ethene or carbon tetrachloride. The EU’s water framework directive classifies HCBD as hazardous. Based on the results of the European Emission Inventory, most of the reported emissions originate from organic bulk chemistry.

/ Hydrogen chloride (HCl)

The chemical industry uses HCl to generate valuable intermediates from organic and inorganic raw materials. The colorless gas dissolves in water to form hydrochloric acid.

/ IPCC Fourth Assessment Report

In 1990, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) started issuing reports that summarized scientific knowledge on global warming. The 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) is the most recent in the series. Published every five to six years, these IPCC reports provide information about the human impact on climate.

/ Polysilicon

Hyperpure polycrystalline silicon from WACKER POLYSILICON is used for manufacturing wafers for the electronics and solar industries. To produce it, metallurgical-grade silicon is converted into liquid trichlorosilane, highly distilled and deposited in hyperpure form at 1,000°C.

/ Primary energy

Primary energy is obtained from naturally occurring sources such as coal, gas or wind. Secondary energy, in contrast, is derived from primary energy via a transformation process (which often involves energy losses); examples include electricity, heat and hydrogen.

/ Silica

Collective term for compounds with the general formula SiO2 · nH2O. Synthetic silicas are obtained from sand. Based on their method of production, a distinction is made between precipitated silicas and pyrogenic silicas (such as HDK®). Pyrogenic silica is generated by flame hydrolysis and has an almost pore-free surface. Pyrogenic silica is used as reinforcing filler for rubber compounds and sealants, matting of paints, and toothpaste additives.

/ Silicon

After oxygen, silicon is the most common element in the Earth’s crust. In nature, it occurs without exception in the form of compounds, chiefly silicon dioxide and silicates. Silicon is obtained through energy-intensive reaction of quartz sand with carbon and is the most important raw material in the electronics industry.

/ Silicon wafer

A silicon wafer is a disc with a thickness of between approximately 200 and 800 μm, and is used by the semiconductor industry for the manufacture of semiconductor devices, i.e. integrated circuits and discrete components.

/ Silicones

General term used to describe compounds of organic molecules and silicon. According to their areas of application, silicones can be classified as fluids, resins or rubber grades. Silicones are characterized by a myriad of outstanding properties. Typical areas of application include construction, the electrical and electronics industries, shipping and transportation, textiles and paper coatings.

/ Siloxanes

Systematic name given to compounds comprising silicon atoms linked together via oxygen atoms and with the remaining valences occupied by hydrogen or organic groups. Siloxanes are the building blocks for the polymers (polysiloxane and polyorganosiloxane) that form silicones.

/ Vulcanization

A chemical process by which, with the application of heat and pressure, rubber is made resistant to atmospheric and chemical influences and mechanical stress. Vulcanization (also called crosslinking or curing) makes the rubber permanently elastic, in other words, it returns to its original state when mechanically strained. It is also tear-resistant, can be stretched greatly and is more resistant to weathering than the starting product.