If it works for NASA, it’s certainly good enough for a manufacturing facility in Dalton, Ga. Methane gas, a renewable energy source, is plentiful in outer space and in earthly landfills. While NASA tests rocket engines powered by methane, a Dow Chemical Company plant in Dalton, Ga. started using this renewable energy to manufacture carpet latex this month.
While the idea of refueling a spaceship in outer space by harvesting methane gas from planets and moons is a developing science, piping “garbage gas” from a landfill to fuel a manufacturing facility is not a new technology. However, the technology continues to gain popularity as businesses and municipalities continue to search for “greener” ways to do business and alternative sources of energy. The carpet industry has long led the pack when it comes to sustainability, putting pressure on itself long before the words “LEED” and “green” came to the forefront.
“Today’s gas prices alone are enough reason to know we must, as a nation and world, move to more sustainable energy sources,” said Todd Crook, Americas Flooring Leader for Dow Emulsion Polymers.
“When carpet manufacturers and their customers choose Dow latex backing, they can not only feel good about getting high-performance products, but also products with an improved environmental impact,” said Crook. “In the manufacturing of our latexes for carpet backing, our target will be to replace nearly all the fossil fuel required to manufacture latex with methane gas that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere.”
LOMAX™ Technology, the name Dow bestowed upon this renewable energy source process, will use approximately 240 billion Btu annually of methane gas, which is equivalent to the amount of energy required to heat 2,100 US homes annually. Carpet backing manufactured with LOMAX™ Technology will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 27 million pounds annually – which is comparable to keeping 2,300 cars off the road each year. If measured by oil consumed, LOMAX™ Technology will replace more than 200,000 barrels annually.
Carpet backing products manufactured with DOW™ LOMAX™ Technology are targeted to receive up to five points under the renewable energy section of the new NSF 140 Carpet Sustainability Standard. Carpets that are certified under this NSF Sustainability Standard are eligible to receive ½ to two LEED Innovation Points depending on the level of certification (Silver, Gold or Platinum). In addition, LOMAX ™ Technology is designed to meet all CRI Green Label Plus initiatives which allows specifiers to receive one additional LEED point.
“LOMAX Technology is truly improving our environmental footprint and equally important is that it is easy for the end user to understand. We are using renewable energy that is naturally generated in a landfill and using that energy to replace our fossil fuel.. These kind of initiatives will change things in our lifetime,” Crook noted.
Developments like LOMAX™ Technology are in keeping with Dow’s 2015 Sustainability Goals, a multi-part program to address some of the most pressing economic, social and environmental concerns facing the global community over the next 10 years. These goals reflect Dow’s commitment to the principles of Responsible Care® and have led to Dow’s recognition as one of the top performers in the global chemical industry by the 2007 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World). To learn more about LOMAX™ Technology, visit www.dowlomax.com.