C02 as polyols feedstock may boost Europe competitiveness: Bayer

03 October 2013 23:13  [Source: ICIS news]

MUNICH (ICIS)--Using carbon dioxide (C02) as a polyols feedstock could help bolster Europe’s competiveness, a member of the managing board for Germany-based chemicals producer Bayer said on Thursday.

C02 has the potential to lower the amount of conventional resources necessary to produce chemicals, said Bayer board member Wolfgang Plischke, who was speaking at the general assembly of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) in Munich, Germany.

Customers will seek out products that use CO2 as a raw material, he said. "It would possibly increase our international competitiveness.”

Bayer constructed a pilot facility in 2011 to develop the technology, finding that polyols derived from C02 have the potential to be less resource-intensive than conventional polyols.

C02-derived polyols can be mixed with isocyanates to create polyurethane (PU), which has been used at the Bayer pilot plant to create flexible foam for mattresses.

According to Plischke, the amount C02-derived polyols necessary to create material for 100 mattresses would require 13 bbl of oil, compared with 15.2 bbl for conventionally-derived polyols. Progress on the research proceeded faster than expected, Plischke added.

“We had a very fast breakthrough, which we didn’t expect, which allowed us to construct a new pilot plant,” Plischke said.

Plischke, who is also a Cefic vice president, said that catalyst research is crucial to exploiting and recycling C02 for chemical applications.

“From a thermodynamic point of view it’s not so easy to use C02 as a raw material. Without catalysis it’s almost impossible. Therefore this catalyst research we have started is of critical importance,” he said.

The company is working on a larger pilot plant at present, with a goal of achieving industrial production by 2015.

Gernot Klotz, executive director of research and innovation for Cefic, added that innovation was key to the European chemical industry remaining competitive. “We will never have enough money to outbid China,” he said.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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