12 July 2013 17:36 [Source: ICB]
Much is written about so-called "green" or "sustainable" chemistry without really assessing the true environmental footprint of the production technology concerned and end-product across its entire life cycle. So it is refreshing to come across a mainstream chemical company about to move to commercial scale with a product that few would argue is not truly green.
Bayer MaterialScience is planning the construction in Germany of a plant of just under 10,000 tonnes/year using novel technology to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into polyether polyols for polyurethane (PU) production. The company has been operating a pilot-scale plant at Chempark in Leverkusen since 2011. At the pilot plant the CO2 for the project comes from energy company RWE Power's lignite power plant outside Cologne, Germany.
Bayer MaterialScience is also pushing ahead with its Solar Impulse project, which now aims to construct a second aircraft that will be capable of flying around the world in one journey with a limited number of stops.
CEO Patrick Thomas accepts that innovation can be a messy process with a lot of dead ends, but says the company is not put off by this.
It is encouraging to see - even in these financially pressured times - that innovative companies are investing in technologies that will help to prove the industry's credentials as a provider of solutions to the environmental challenges the world faces.
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