Bayer MaterialScience on Track to Make Polyols from CO2

08.06.2015 -

Bayer MaterialScience (BMS), soon to be renamed Covestro, is entering what its management calls the “home stretch” of its Dream Production project, which foresees the manufacture of polyols from waste CO2.

The polyols produced from the waste gas, made up to around 20% of CO2, will go into the manufacture of polyurethane foam for mattresses.

Recently a new 25-t chemical reactor was installed at the heart of the future Covestro production line at the company’s Dormagen, Germany, site, and the last key component, a CO2 tank, is due to be installed later this year.

Calling the reactor a “major step forward,” project manager Karsten Malsch said the facility is expected to go on stream in the first quarter of next year.

The still-Bayer group company said intensive tests with the new PU precursors have shown that the material produced from CO2 is “at least as good” as conventional products made entirely from petrochemical feedstock, and the new production process is more sustainable.

In future, BMS/Covestro hopes to further increase the proportion of CO2 in the foam products as well as increasing the share of CO2-based plastics in its portfolio.

The Dream Production project, received funding from the German federal research ministry. The catalyst used to produce foam with properties equivalent to conventional grades was developed by Germany’s RWTH Aachen University and the jointly operated CAT Catalytic Center.

In addition to mattress foam, the CO2-fed polyols can be used to produce thermoplastic polyurethanes and later coatings or fibers, the plastics producer suggests. (dw)