CO2 as Chemical Feedstock

From CO2 to Plastic Foams: The Stuff That Dreams are Made of?

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Annual worldwide demand for PUR currently stands at 15 million tonnes, making this is a persuasive argument. Moreover, the material has significant additional potential. When you factor in the huge growth of the emerging economies, the polyurethane market is expanding at an annual rate of 5 %.

Bayer plans further investment in the Dream Production project at its Dormagen site
Bayer plans further investment in the Dream Production project at its Dormagen site
(Picture: Bayer Material Science)

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From waste Gas to Plastic: Foundation on Foam

Will it be possible to make climate-friendly mattresses and insulation panels in the future? Maybe not quite. Utilization of CO2 could help to reduce oil consumption, but there will still be a need for fossil-based propylene oxide. Bayer believes that the savings will be in the region of 20 %. The energy needed to break down the gas also has to be factored in.

Will this really make industry any “greener” given the 147 million tonnes of CO2 that belched out of the chimneys of Germany’s large lignite-fueled power stations in 2012? Initial figures generated by RWTH Aachen are reassuring. The scientists report that the new process consumes less energy and generates lower CO2 emissions over the full lifecycle.

Can CO2 Utilisation be Coupled with renewable Energy

5000 tonnes may not sound like much but it is a start. The technique could become genuinely lucrative in combination with renewable power generation. Energy sources like wind are extremely fluctuating, yet an electrolysis process could make it possible to store energy in form of hydrogen (see box). That, however, may be as far off as waste gas based PUR.