Some examples of innovations
The innovative solutions developed by Imerys reduce the environmental impact of its products throughout their lifecycle, while contributing to improving its customers’ creativity, quality, yield and ease of production. Here are some examples of products launched recently by the various business groups.
FiberLean™, a composite of Micro Fibrillated Cellulose and mineral
FiberLean™ is a composite of Micro Fibrillated Cellulose (MFC) and mineral. Imerys’ patented MFC production process. FiberLean™ allows paper and packaging producers to increase the filler loading in the sheet and achieve cost savings, productivity gains and improved product properties. FiberLean™ offers paper makers the opportunity to develop new differentiated products and be more cost competitive. Imerys plans to be the world leading MFC producer and is currently developing FiberLean™ with several customers around the world. MFC is an exciting new material for the Imerys portfolio with many exciting applications within and beyond paper and packaging. To have more information, please visit the Imerys FiberLean website.
Carbon for the Li-Ion battery
A Li-ion battery stores energy through the reversible exchange of lithium ions between a negative electrode comprised of specific carbon products such as graphite, and a positive electrode made from various metallic oxides and conductive additives such as carbon black. Imerys Graphite & Carbon activity is the world leader in carbon black. Reversible ion storage in the negative electrode is made possible by a special carbon for which the market is ten times larger in volume terms than that of carbon black in the positive pole. The most common technical solution consists of natural graphite that is made spherical by an energy-intensive mechanical process with a low material yield and is then coated and impregnated with asphalt. As these products are considered harmful, the industry is developing alternatives. The Imerys Graphite & Carbon division has developed several references for different applications:
- C-NERGYTM ACTILION B3 is a new electroactive carbon electrode material for lithium-ion batteries for the automotive industry combining high energy densities with an improved charging time.
- C-NERGYTM C225 is a new conductive carbon black with improved conductivity allowing to decrease the concentration of conductive mass in the positive electrode leading to higher cell capacity.
Zirconia for oxygen sensors
This product, developed several years ago, is a key component of advanced ignition systems for modern cars. Oxygen sensors act as a small fuel cell. In cells of this type, combustible gas is oxidized, generating a current as it passes through a ceramic membrane. In oxygen sensors, a very small fraction of exhaust gas is taken up. This small amount of gas goes through a ceramic membrane made from yttrium oxide-stabilized zirconia before regaining the oxygen in air. The difference in electrical potential generated in this way depends on the oxygen content of the initial gas, the composition of which can therefore be measured. In practice, two cells are used in a row to make the mechanism more accurate. An especially demanding automotive parts supplier chose Imerys zirconia because of its repeatability qualities.
ImerPlast™ fosters plastic recycling
Only six of the 25 million tons of plastic wastes produced in Europe are currently recycled. Because of the incompatibility between polyethylene and polypropylene, producing miscible blends of the two materials was previously rather difficult. Thanks to an internal research program, Imerys has developed and marketed ImerPlast™, a mineral solution that makes polyethylene/polypropylene blends compatible using an active mineral agent. This innovation opens up new possibilities in applications for recycled plastics (pipes, cable sheaths, sewerage systems, geomembranes, insulation). It was developed in Europe and will now be launched on other geographic markets where the Group is active.
Discover other innovations developed by the business groups in the Sustainable Development section.