Covestro has recently announced that more sustainable carbon dioxide (CO₂)-based materials for the construction sector could become a reality in the coming times. The company along with its project partner puren gmbh has developed an initial prototype of an insulation board containing the novel polyols based on conventional ethylene oxides and CO₂.
This development marks a decisive further development of Covestro’s CO₂ technology for a particularly important part of the climate-relevant construction industry.
As part of the “DreamResource” joint project (FKZ 033RC002) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to research new and more environmentally friendly polyols,, Covestro has been working since 2016 with research and development partners. The aim has been for developing a new material in the form of rigid polyurethane foam in insulation for the construction sector.
Covestro has been successful in combining the petroleum derivative ethylene oxide with CO₂ in a chemical reaction for producing first polyols and finally rigid polyurethane foam. It is expected that up to 20 percent of petroleum-based raw materials would be replaced by this process in the future. Dr. Christoph Gürtler, head of catalysis and technology at Covestro, said, “With the development of these materials, we are endowing the greenhouse gas CO₂ with a new use with versatile applications.”
Along with Covestro’s industrial partners puren gmbh, BYK-Chemie GmbH, and PSS Polymer Standard Service GmbH, it has been proved possible for investigating a wide range of applications, besides developing new analytical methods for the CO₂-based materials. The ecological and economic potential of this expanded CO₂ technology was investigated along with the in-depth characterization of the novel materials with RWTH Aachen University and the Technical University of Berlin.
Dennis Krämer, project manager for national and international research projects for CO₂ utilization at DECHEMA e.V said, “The results of DreamResource demonstrate the diverse opportunities that arise from the use of CO₂ as a basic building block for polyols to produce a wide variety of polyurethane types.” Dennis further noted that the interaction between industry and science plays an essential role in this innovative field.
Sucheta Govil, chief commercial officer at Covestro observed that buildings are responsible for a large share of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Sucheta said, “It is important for us to contribute to the Circular Economy and make insulation even more sustainable and efficient in the future. Our goal is to end the use of fossil fuels and make our production processes more sustainable.”
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