28 February 2013 16:40 [Source: ICIS news]
By Jeremy Pafford
HOUSTON (ICIS)--When it comes to making polyols, Jason Anderson thinks a product his company recently made has the makings of becoming the third major class of polyols. That may not be a lot of hot air, but it is a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Novomer recently teamed with
Novomer modified Albermarle’s existing equipment for the PPC polyol production run.
“All we had to do was add some pipes, pumps and instrumentation,”
The result of the run was a 1,000 molecular weight PPC diol to be used to accelerate product qualification and adoption in conventional polyurethane applications such as flexible and rigid foams, adhesives and sealants, coatings and elastomers.
"We are pleased with the results of this first run and thank the DOE [Department of Energy] for their support,” said Ron Valente, Novomer’s vice president of research. “This campaign clearly demonstrates the robustness of our catalyst and manufacturing process, and we are confident in the ability to move to a larger scale as demand warrants."
The vast majority of polyols used today are petroleum-based. But the feedstock of choice for Novomer is CO2 – waste CO2 at that.
Novomer polyols are produced via the co-polymerisation of CO2 and epoxides, and the resulting polycarbonate products contain more than 40% CO2 by weight. And the use of waste CO2 as a raw material yields a product with a low carbon footprint.
Waste CO2 is significantly lower in cost than conventional petroleum-based raw materials, so people such as
Efficiently turning CO2 into PPC is possible thanks to proprietary cobalt-based catalyst based on technology licensed from
And the PPC that Novomer creates can be tuned to the needs of specific applications, as the polyol backbone, structure, molecular weight and functionality can all be tailored independently, Anderson said.
Novomer's PPC polyol has a polycarbonate backbone that increases the strength and durability of polyurethane products, the company said. Incorporating these new polyols into existing formulations yields foams with higher tensile strength, tear strength and load bearing capacity; adhesives and coatings with improved adhesion, cohesive strength and weatherabilty; and elastomers with greater tensile and flexural strength.
“From a capital perspective and an operational costs perspective, our process looks essentially the same as conventional polyether polyol production,”
Novomer officials said the company is working closely with several major companies in various segments of the polyurethanes industry and that the recently produced PPC material will enable commercial scale testing of Novomer polyol.
“Currently, roughly two-thirds of the polyol market is polyether and one-third polyester,”
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