The overall raw materials expense of the Group mounted to circa € 2.8 billion in 2018 (vs. €2.5 billion in 2017). The raw materials expense can be split into several categories: crude oil derivatives for 42%, minerals derivatives for 23% (e.g. glass fiber, sodium silica, calcium silicate, phosphorus, sodium hydroxide…), natural gas derivatives for 7%, biochemicals for 12% (e.g. glycerol, guar, fatty alcohol, ethyl alcohol…) and others for 16% (composites...).

Net energy costs represented about €0.65 billion 2018 (vs €0,61 billion in 2017). Energy sources were spread over gas for 55%, coke, petcoke, coal, and anthracite for 30%, electricity for 10% and steam, fuel oil, and others for 5%. More than half of the costs were incurred in Europe (58%) followed by the Americas (24%), and Asia and the rest of the world (18%). The Group has pursued an active energy policy for many years.

On energy supply, Solvay has consistently implemented programs to reduce its energy consumption for many years. While we have industrial activities with high energy consumption, mainly in Europe (synthetic soda ash plants, peroxides), we also operate a range of industrial activities whose energy content is relatively low as a percentage of sales price, especially in the fluorinated polymers business. To reduce the Group's energy footprint Solvay has stepped up its SOLWATT energy efficiency program, which aims to continuously optimize the industrial processes involved in its energy production and supply.