Products Benefitting the WorldNov 10, 2022 - Insights
Tronox has an unrivaled range of products that aligns with our sustainability goals to combat climate change, reduce waste to external landfills, and protect the health and safety of people. We harness the unique properties of TiO2, titanium chemicals, and other valuable byproducts to make the world a cleaner, safer and more brilliant place.
We proudly offer products that meet the needs of today and continue to innovate to deliver new products that both address the needs of the future and prioritize sustainability. In 2020, Tronox moved its specialty TiO2 R&D center to a new state-of-the-art facility in Thann, France. Having CristalACTiV™ R&D and manufacturing together enables collaboration and efficiency in providing new products and novel solutions for improving our environment and mitigating climate changes. Our key focus is to develop the most sophisticated specialty products that achieve greater performance and offer sustainable solutions while integrating safety from the earliest stages of product development.
From the moment we start to develop a new product in the laboratory through its scale-up to routine production, we evaluate the life cycle of the materials used for its manufacture and the final product. Many new products are more efficient, so our customers can use less to achieve the same performance. We also strive for a final product that lasts longer.
Products to Combat Climate Change
TiO2 is essential to manufacturing catalysts for the denitrification of emissions from two of the largest emission sources: the transportation and power (electricity) generation sectors. A good number of the heavy-duty trucks on the road today — which we have seen throughout the pandemic are so vital to maintaining our supply chain — are using catalysts containing TiO2 to meet emissions standards.
Harnessing the natural power of sunlight and TiO2, our photocatalytic solutions used in building materials, paints and coatings can help to degrade air pollutants in the surrounding atmosphere. TiO2‘s photocatalytic properties also make it an excellent component in solar energy technologies that are the foundation of achieving renewable energy targets.
Thanks to the brightness and whiteness provided by TiO2 used in paints and coatings, we also can contribute to efforts to reduce overall energy use. For example, using white coatings on rooftops lowers the temperature of buildings by reflecting heat. This helps to reduce the urban heat island effect in large cities and can reduce the energy that would otherwise be consumed by cooling devices, such as air conditioning.
Products to Increase Durability and Reduce Waste
It is not surprising that over 75 percent of Tronox sales are for paints and coatings. There is no alternative that provides the same light-scattering ability or covering power of TiO2. In fact, around 95 percent of all paints use TiO2. The high-quality physical properties of TiO2 makes paint more durable and requires fewer layers to provide complete coverage, keeping material use down. Plus, the Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association’s “cradle-to-gate” Product Environmental Footprint assessment found paints formulated with high levels of TiO2 pigment have a lower environmental footprint across its full life cycle when compared to paints formulated with low TiO2 content and high extender content.
TiO2 pigment helps to maintain the quality of many other products as well. The refractive properties of TiO2 extend the life of plastics used outdoors, like in windows and doors, so they do not need to be replaced as quickly. Coatings on bridges and ships use TiO2 to protect the exterior and delay recoating or replacement. Without such a coating, a new ship or bridge will begin to degrade as soon as it is exposed to air.
Coatings and external paints with TiO2 enhance the durability of construction products through its resistance to heat, light and weathering, creating less need to replace construction materials or renovate buildings. The protective qualities also combat paint degradation on cars.
Products for a Healthier World
Tronox operations were deemed essential during the COVID pandemic because our TiO2 and titanium chemicals are vital for products that support life-saving medical care.
Our products can be found in everything from personal protective gear, including surgery masks used by many people to reduce the spread of the COVID virus, to the plastic and coatings components in medical equipment. We also have customers who use titanium tetrachloride to manufacture key medications to treat illness.
TiO2 is also critical in plastic and paper packaging to prevent contamination of medical products and food. For example, our Thann Pigment Plant supplies anatase TiO2 for novel plastics used to manufacture milk bottles. The anatase is key to creating a light barrier and opaqueness to protect the milk and other packaged goods from spoiling.
At a time when it is estimated that only 71 percent of the world’s population has access to safe drinking water, we are proud that our TiO2 products are being developed to support efforts to purify water. TiO2 is well suited to trap difficult contaminants and heavy metals in water, and can support filtration and UV light treatment-style water purification applications as well.
A number of secondary products are produced when we manufacture TiO2. Tronox seizes the opportunity to both reduce waste streams and generate additional value for our customers and shareholders by finding new uses for these byproducts. Read more about how we contribute to the circular economy on page 27 of our sustainability report.