London - Covestro is developing a new "butyl-type" rubber that uses CO2 as a feedstock, according to Patrick Thomas, CEO of the Leverkusen, Germany-based polymer maker.
Thomas highlighted the development at an 18 May press briefing in London alongside a range of innovations in the company's core polyurethane (PU) chemicals and polycarbonates businesses.
"We are where we were about four years ago with PU," said Thomas, referring to the company's near-commercialised development of flexible urethane foams produced using feedstock-derived from CO2.
Production, in which CO2 has so far replaced up to 20% of propylene oxide in the urethane polyol, has now reached 4,000 tonnes, with a 100-kilotonne-per-annum plant envisaged within five years.
The possibility of making rubber materials emerged from related research by Covestro and Aachen University into the thermodynamics of using CO2 in other feedstocks.
“This new is a new C4-based, butyl-type rubber and is looking quite promising," said the CEO. "It isn’t butyl rubber but it is similar. It is a new class: not old rubber."