SABIC returns to WEF with ICEhouse™ bringing the principles of designing for durable carbon

Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017 - Innovative SABIC composite materials that have opened up a vast new array of possibilities for designers in diverse industries are taking center stage at the World Economic Forum as part of an innovative structure, combining advanced technologies and design, known as the ICEhouse™.

The iconic structure—constructed in Davos, Switzerland, for the second year—is spearheading SABIC’s efforts to deliver this breakthrough technology to the world, and in doing so promote the architect William McDonough’s concept of the importance of closed-loop, durable carbon systems.

“Through this innovative building, which combines art and engineering, we are exhibiting materials that utilize carbon in a positive way. SABIC solutions can open up a world of new possibilities for designers with their strong, lightweight, and durable properties,” said Yousef Al-Benyan, SABIC Vice-Chairman and CEO. “The impact of these new materials will be felt far beyond the world of architecture, bringing benefits to designers in industries as diverse as electronics, healthcare and aerospace.”

ICEhouse, where ICE stands for Innovation for the Circular Economy, was built using SABIC’s LEXAN™ sheet and systems for the walls, ceiling, roofing and windows.

This year, SABIC’s new fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composite technologies are used for floor panels and profile structures instead of metal and wood, delivering superior durability, impact performance, and safety with less weight. The cladding is LEXAN multi-wall sheet filled with nanogel for outstanding energy efficiency. Thermoplastic composite sandwich floor panels with skins made out of UDMAX™ GPP 45-70 tape replace plywood being up to 50 percent lighter, with higher abrasion and impact resistance. The thermoplastic composite floor panels do not absorb water and therefore do not decay, increasing safety in use and lifetime of the flooring. Another novelty is the tubular composite structures made with UDMAX GPP 45-70 tape, a continuous fibre reinforced polypropylene, which partially replaces aluminium L-shaped profiles with very favourable weight-to-performance ratio.

“These solutions are not just important for ICEhouse. For example, our UDMAX tape can be used for aircraft panels or trains.” said Ernesto Occhiello, Executive Vice President, Specialities, SABIC. “What matters to us is working together with architects and designers in the conceptual phase of a project so we can provide them with materials that help them do what they once thought to be impossible. Through technology and material science we can enable them to design to meet the fundamental needs that have a fundamental impact to people—at home, in nutrition, healthcare, communication and transportation.”

Occhiello added: “Given concerns about climate change, it is understandable that carbon has a problematic reputation, but the truth is when carbon is used in a safe way—as it is in ICEhouse—then it can be a tremendous asset. The structure’s materials are superior to their traditional counterparts and much more reusable. This is creating ‘Chemistry that Matters™’ for sustainable societies.”

William McDonough, author and sustainability pioneer, and his companies, William McDonough + Partners and WonderFrame LLC designed and built ICEhouse with collaboration and support from SABIC, one of the world’s preferred suppliers of chemicals.

The Circular Economy incorporates the Cradle to Cradle® design philosophy, developed by William McDonough, incorporating the principles of material health, material reutilization, renewable energy, clean water and social fairness. The Circular Economy utilizes this approach to product design to break the typical take-make-dispose flow of material resources today, replacing it with designs that make use of carbon through products that are inherently recoverable, reusable and recyclable.

Prior to this year’s WEF, ICEhouse was assembled in the Netherlands’ Circular Valley, an initiative to drive the Circular Economy concept by promoting the Cradle to Cradle reuse of building materials.

McDonough said, “Carbon—the element—is not the enemy. Climate change is the result of breakdowns in the carbon cycle: it is a design failure. When carbon is used in right way, like in the materials made by SABIC, buildings such as ICEhouse are breathing new life into the carbon conversation. Rather than focus on carbon emissions, we can work with carbon as durable element, as an earthbound asset.”

The World Economic Forum, taking place in Davos, Switzerland, from January 17 to 20, engages the foremost leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. On January 17 William McDonough has received the Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. For more information, click here.

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SABIC is a global leader in diversified chemicals headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We manufacture on a global scale in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, making distinctly different kinds of products: chemicals, commodity and high performance plastics, agri-nutrients and metals.

We support our customers by identifying and developing opportunities in key end markets such as construction, medical devices, packaging, agri-nutrients, electrical and electronics, transportation and clean energy.

SABIC recorded a net profit of SR 18.77 billion (US$ 5 billion) in 2015. Sales revenues for 2015 totalled SR 148.09 billion (US$ 39.49 billion). Total assets stood at SR 328.22 billion (US$ 87.53 billion) at the end of 2015.

SABIC has more than 40,000 employees worldwide and operates in more than 50 countries. Fostering innovation and a spirit of ingenuity, we have 10,908 global patent filings, and have significant research resources with innovation hubs in five key geographies – USA, Europe, Middle East, South East Asia and North East Asia.

The Saudi Arabian government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent publicly traded on the Saudi stock exchange.

At SABIC, what matters most to us is the strength of our relationships for the long term, the positive impact that we make and the science we work with to help solve global challenges. Together with our stakeholders, our work benefits their industries, their economies and their societies. This is what we do. We call this ‘Chemistry that Matters™’.

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