It does feel a little weird that I am now contributing to this article from ICIS Chemical Business, from which I used to work for. However, I am thankful for the opportunity to help spread the word about recent bio-based polyurethanes developments within the chemical industry.
Here is a snapshot of the article published by ICIS for the American Chemistry Council’s annual Polyurethanes Technical Conference:
ACC: Development of biobased polyols for green polyurethanes has great potential
19 September 2014
Source:ICIS Chemical Business
As the interest in sustainable products continues, demand for materials made from renewables-based poly-urethanes also continues to grow.
Natural oil polyols (NOPs) and sugars, which have long been raw materials for alkyd paints, are now used to make polyurethane (PU) foams for automotive applications, while thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) from biobased polyester polyols find use in sporting goods, particularly shoes, and medical devices.
Commercialisation of a wider range of higher-performing, cost-competitive biobased polyols from both established polyol manufacturers and newer companies focused on the production of renewable materials will drive further growth of the sustainable PU segment.
Biobased polyols can be drop-in replacements for existing polyols, as they have similar structures and properties but are derived from renewable raw materials rather than petrochemicals, as well as substitutes for existing polyols that have slightly different structures and properties, or new compounds with entirely new functionality and performance characteristics.
As well as polyols based on natural oils (soybean, castor and palm) and sugars (sorbitol and sucrose), there are now commercially available polyols made from the biobased diols 1,3-propanediol (PDO) and 1,4-butanediol (BDO) and diacids, including succinic acid and larger acids such as Elevance’s Inherent C18 octadecanedioic acid (ODDA), as well as those produced using carbon dioxide (CO2), including polypropylene, polyethylene, polyether polycarbonate, and polycyclohexene carbonate (PPC, PEC, PPP, and PCHC, respectively) polyols, says Doris de Guzman, senior consultant, bio-materials and intermediates for Tecnon OrbiChem.