Moving away from Fluorosurfactants
Leveraging innovation to develop sustainable solutions
“PFAS" represents a very broad family of substances, including thousands of different chemicals, all with very different profiles and properties. Among them, fluorosurfactants used in the manufacture of some fluoropolymers are the PFAS substances currently under the most intense spotlight and regulatory oversight.
Fluoropolymers are materials that are essential for electric vehicle batteries, hybrid engines, hydrogen applications, renewable energy installations, semiconductor manufacturing, medical devices, and more.
Innovating with non-fluorosurfactant technologies
At Solvay, we produce a vast majority of fluoropolymers without the use of fluorosurfactants.
For the manufacturing of some very specialized fluoropolymers, we developed a new polymerization process that no longer requires the use of fluorosurfactants while keeping the unique properties of these products, as required for special applications.
Guided by our sustainability roadmap Solvay One Planet, we have quadrupled our investment in R&I since 2019 to invent a next-generation, more sustainable range of very specialized fluoropolymers through a new technology that is being rolled out across these product lines.
After a first step of voluntarily eliminating the use of fluorosurfactants in the US in July 2021, Solvay’s innovation power will enable it to further manufacture nearly 100% of its fluoropolymers without the use of fluorosurfactants at its Spinetta Marengo facility by 2026. One small product line, critical for the semiconductor and energy industries and representing less than 1% of production volume, will require further research and development to complete the voluntary phase-out of fluorosurfactants. A tightly-controlled, closed-loop and zero liquid discharge production process will be used for this production line. While this transition occurs, Solvay continues investing in state-of-the-art technologies with the objective to eliminate fluorosurfactant emissions from its manufacturing at Spinetta Marengo.
At Solvay, we believe in the importance of fluoropolymers which play an important role in many essential applications, including electric vehicle batteries, hybrid engines, green hydrogen applications, renewable energy installations, semiconductor manufacturing, medical devices, and more. Therefore, fluoropolymers will continue to be an important part of our product portfolio and we are proud of our new, non-fluorosurfactant technology.
- Solvay’s goal is to phase out the use of fluorosurfactants globally.
- Our success in developing non-fluorosurfactant technologies in West Deptford, New Jersey (US) was the first step in our journey.
- We are now working towards the objective of manufacturing nearly 100% of our fluoropolymers without the use of fluorosurfactants in Spinetta Marengo, Italy by 2026.
- Today in Spinetta Marengo, we only manufacture limited quantities of a next-generation fluorosurfactant (C6O4) while we transition to the new non-fluorosurfactant technology.
- C6O4 is neither biopersistent nor bioaccumulative, is registered in accordance with REACH (the European Union's regulation for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) and has been approved by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).
- In addition, for our manufacturing in Spinetta Marengo, Solvay applies state-of-the-art techniques that eliminate nearly 100% of fluorosurfactant emissions.
Quick facts on Solvay and PFAS
Solvay has never manufactured or sold PFOA- or PFNA-based process aids.
Solvay never used PFOS or manufactured firefighting foams—a key source of certain PFAS in the environment.
Solvay voluntarily phased out use of PFOA- and PFNA-based process aids in the U.S. in 2003 and 2010, respectively, and phased out use of PFOA-based process aids globally in 2013.