Press Release Clean Energy & Ocean Solutions

Hanwha Solutions' phthalate-free plasticizer Eco-DEHCH offers answer to growing demand for harmless plastics

January 19, 2022
A panoramic view of Hanwha Solutions’ Ulsan plant with production facilities on the left and center of the image, and a flowerbed on the right.

Hanwha Solutions Ulsan Plant

With the Covid pandemic prompting a surge in plastic demand and consumers becoming more aware of its potential impacts on individual health, calls for assuring its safety are gaining more ground than ever before.

Hanwha Solutions, which aims to deliver sustainable solutions for the planet through smart energy solutions and customer-focused materials, wasted no time addressing the concern by developing harmless plastic-manufacturing material.

Hanwha Solutions’ Chemical Division announced that it quadrupled annual production of phthalate-free plasticizer Eco-DEHCH. Up to 6.5 tons of it will be produced every year at a petrochemical industrial complex in the southeastern port city of Ulsan, South Korea.

Phthalate-free plasticizer using “hydrogenation”

Plasticizer is a chemical substance capable of making plastics softer, and phthalate is one of the most common materials to achieve it. However, phthalate-based plasticizer has often been blamed for disrupting the hormone system and thus been restricted from toys and furniture.

Eco-DEHCH is one of the most recognized phthalate-free plasticizer developed by a research team at Hanwha Solutions’ Chemical Division, providing eco-friendly alternative for hazardous dioctyl phthalate (DOP) and less-harmful but less-effective terephthalate like dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP).

Adding hydrogen to DOTP plasticizer, Eco-DEHCH manages to remove phthalate-inducing material from its chemical structure altogether. Only a few industrial leaders acquire the hydrogen-added mixture technology, also known as hydrogenation.

With a faster absorption rate and lower quantity requirement, it costs less than other phthalate-free plasticizers to be manufactured. Eco-DEHCH also has high resistance to heat and cold, making it ideal for use in outdoor products.

Certified by regulators from US and EU

The efforts are also underway to ensure its safety from health authorities around the world. In 2017, the US Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted permission to Eco-DEHCH for use in plastic wraps, bottle caps and other food-related products.

In 2019, it passed a safety test for EU regulations on Food Contact Materials, which determine the safety of packaging materials and kitchen utensils, and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals assessment by NSF International, a global public health and safety organization.

“As pandemic-stricken households spend more money than before decorating their houses with brand-new wallpapers and flooring materials, the need for eco-friendly plasticizers continues to grow around the world,” said an official at Hanwha Solutions.

“By expanding the production of Eco-DEHCH, we are hoping to deliver sustainable solutions to increasing plastic consumption and fulfill global standard for environmental, social and governance (ESG) mandate.”

Hanwha Solutions’ ESG mandate: No more DOP production and declaring K-RE100

Given the growing need for observing the ESG mandate around the world, Hanwha Solutions' Chemical Division is seeking to completely halt its production of phthalate-based plasticizer DOP within 2022.

The material is classified as hazardous material by Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, EU regulations governing the manufacture and import of chemical substance.

The company is also planning to use green electricity produced from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

It also vowed to reduce carbon emissions to zero with its advanced technologies, ranging from high-efficient solar panels, and electrolysis-based green hydrogen to mixed hydrogen combustion technologies.

“Moving forward, the fate of the companies will falter if they are not fully committed to carbon neutrality,” said Hanwha Solutions’ official. “Based on advanced climate technology using solar, wind and hydrogen energy, we will accelerate our efforts to fulfill net-zero pledge before 2050.”

About Hanwha Solutions

Hanwha Solutions aims to deliver sustainable solutions for the planet through smart energy solutions and customer-focused materials. The Company operates its business through five divisions: Q CELLS, Chemical, Advanced Material, Galleria and City Development. The Q CELLS Division offers total energy solutions from photovoltaic module manufacturing, power plant operation to electricity retailing service. The Chemical Division, the first in Korea to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC), manufactures various chemical products and eco-friendly plasticizers. The Advanced Materials Division produces high-tech materials for automotive, photovoltaic and electronic devices. The Galleria Division, an operator of premium department store chain, provides premium fashion and food services. The City Development Division is a leading real estate developer specializing in industrial complexes. With its innovative technologies for sustainable growth, Hanwha Solutions strives to become a global leader in bringing a better future for humanity.

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