Dormagen, Germany – Covestro has opened a production plant to produce carbon dioxide-based polymers on an industrial scale using, according to a company release 17 June.
The new plant is built at Covestro’s Dormagen site near Cologne, Germany, and will produce CO2-based polyols as feedstock for polyurethane (PU) materials.
The new process, said the company, saves a proportional amount of the oil-based raw material, and can produce “innovative” PU foams comprising 20 percent CO2.
“We have to change the way we look at CO2, and we will. Using it as an alternative source of raw materials is a solution to some of the biggest challenges of our time,” said CEO Patrick Thomas.
Covestro developed the project to use CO2 for raw materials with the backing of the German government and in cooperation with the RWTH Aachen University.
The company has invested €15 million in the new plant, which has an annual production capacity of 5,000 tonnes.
The CO2 used is a waste product from a neighbouring chemical company.
Covestro has previously announced that the technology could also be used to make elastomers based on polyether carbonates.
Small-scale tests have so far shown that elastomers manufactured using this process have the same qualities as those produced from petrochemicals.
At the same time, the new elastomer production process is much more energy-efficient and uses lower volumes of solvents than traditional processes, Covestro said.