Following a successful test phase, Bayer plans to commercialize the use of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as a new raw material for plastics. The company has started the planning process for the construction of a production facility at its site in Dormagen, Germany, where CO2 will be used to produce a precursor for high-quality foam. The objective is to initially make larger quantities of this precursor available to selected processors from 2015.
CO2 replaces a portion of the fossil raw materials, such as petroleum, that would otherwise be used exclusively. Bayer expects the new process to provide economic advantages over the conventional production method.
The materials manufacturer collaborated with partners from industry and academia to develop the process, which has been tested intensively over the last two years. As part of the publicly funded research project “Dream Production,” a pilot plant at Bayer’s main site in Leverkusen produced smaller quantities of the precursor polyol, in which the CO2 is chemically bound.
The substance is used for the production of polyurethane foam. In internal tests, the new foams show at least the same high quality as conventional material based entirely on fossil fuels. The first use of the new CO2-based flexible foam will be for the production of mattresses.
The planned production facility in Dormagen will have a capacity of several thousand metric tons.
For more information, visit www.materialscience.bayer.com.