Bayer polymer pilot plant using CO2 to start in spring 2011

07 December 2010 23:09  [Source: ICIS news]

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (ICIS)--Bayer MaterialScience will open a pilot plant in early spring to research using carbon dioxide (CO2) in the manufacture of polymers, the German chemicals company said on Tuesday.

The kilogram-scale plant is in Bayer’s Chempark site in Leverkusen. Polyether polycarbonate polyols will be processed into polyurethanes through catalysis or the chemical bonding of CO2, the company said.

The nameplate capacity of the plant was not disclosed.

Speaking to ICIS at Bayer's global headquarters in Leverkusen, the head of the catalysis programme, Christopher Gurtler, said there was potential for commercialisation of the first products by 2015.

“We are using waste material as a raw material, and the technology will help cut the consumption of fossil fuels,” he added.

The pilot plant, under Bayer’s “Dream Reactions” research project that began in March 2009, would be provided with CO2 from RWE Power's lignite-fired powerplant in Niederaussem.

“This project is all about realising the chemist’s long-held dream of creating valuable products under mild conditions from components that are already available in massive quantities, and are therefore inexpensive,” Gurtler said.

As part of the project, Bayer MaterialScience and Bayer Technology Services have been working with RWE Power and academic partner RWTH Aachen University.

If the pilot plant is successful and the market shows demand for the product, Gurtler said the technology could be used to make all of Bayer’s polyurethanes. However, much product development is still required.

“The technology could be used for existing applications, but there is still much testing to be done," he added.

Polyurethane is used in building insulation, mattresses, upholstered furniture and lightweight components for the automotive industry.

 ($1 = €0.75)

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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By: Franco Capaldo
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