Developing sustainable materials for the world’s growing population along the entire value chain is particularly important for both Covestro and Tongji University in China. For the first time, a group of 30 students and professors of materials science from Shanghai visited the Covestro headquarters in Leverkusen. The intensified cooperation and the open innovation approach, especially with regard to sustainability issues, are the top priority: The group learned about new developments in the circular economy and how to make use of industrial wastewater in production. The focus was also on the use of CO2 as a raw material source for material production for the students.
“For more than a decade Tongji University has been an important partner for us to train young talents and to further develop innovative and sustainable materials solutions for China,” explains Dr. Christian Hässler, currently Head of Sustainability and former Head of the Covestro Polymer Research and Development Center PRDC in Shanghai. “With the visit of the student group in Germany we bring the long-term cooperation to another level.”
“For us, open innovation is not a buzzword, but an integral part of our innovation projects, with which we can push the boundaries of what is possible”, adds Thomas Görgen, Head of Alliance Management at Covestro. The material manufacturer cooperates closely with several leading universities around the world to more quickly share and promote trends and developments, as well as sustainable innovation.
Covestro and Tongji are driving material innovation
“This very first visit to Covestro’s headquarters impressed the students and me a lot. Covestro’s endeavor in sustainability and innovation can be seen in their daily operation,” Prof. Dr. Qiu Jun, Vice Dean for Teaching & International Affairs, School of Material Science & Engineering, Tongji University, comments. “I am happy that Tongji is partnering with Covestro in generating industry platforms in China for value chain collaboration. ”
As one of the leading Chinese research institutions in the field of materials science, Tongji University supports the development of innovative applications for key industries such as mobility and construction in China. Covestro has supported the University’s work on sustainable development for several years with an endowed chair. In focus are concepts for global megatrends such as increasing urbanization: materials for sustainable construction, living and mobility. In the joint Innovation Academy, Covestro and Tongji professors and students alike are working on the market-driven development of material innovations.
With 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,200 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2017.