Bioplastic, Company initiatives, Processing, Products

Bayer to commercialize CO2-based polyols

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In the meantime, let’s talk about carbon dioxide (CO2). The blog has been following the development of Bayer MaterialScience’s (BMS) carbon dioxide-based polyol project for three years now. The company started its pilot plant in Chempark Leverkusen, Germany, in early 2011 producing kilogram-scale polyether polycarbonate polyols (PPPs) using carbon dioxide as feedstock.

BMS announced today that it has started the planning process for the construction of a commercial production facility at its site in Dormagen, Germany, where CO2 will be used to produce PPPs, which will be then processed into polyurethanes as precursor for high-quality foam. The objective is to initially produce large quantities of these polyols available to selected processors from 2015.

The first use of the new CO2-based flexible foam will be for the production of mattresses. BMS said it expects the new process to provide economic advantages over the conventional production method. The blog believes the key technology for the process is in their catalysis. Bayer has been working on the project with the energy company RWE, which supplies the CO2 used in the process.

The planned production facility in Dormagen will have a capacity of several thousand metric tons (under 10,000 tpy). BMS said it has not yet decided to be the exclusive producer of the polyol and is also considering licensing the patented technology.

Other companies working on using CO2 as feedstock materials include:

  • Novomer, which has been working on commercializing polypropylene carbonate (PPC) and polethylene carbonate (PEC) materials using CO2 for feedstock
  • SK Innovation, which is already commercializing its PPC under the Green Pol brand
  • Cardia Bioplastics, which is also working on a blend of PPC polymer and starch for its Cardia Bioplastics CO2S resin
  • Oakbio, working on capturing CO2 from flue gas using a fermentation process and converting CO2 into plastics and chemicals
  • Carbon Sciences looking to use waste CO2 using dry reforming catalyst technology to produce syngas

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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