Use of CO2-based polyols offers more than just environmental benefits

Econic Technologies' most recent innovation allowing amounts of waste CO2 to be incorporated into a polyol

Econic Technologies, a UK cleantech company that has developed catalyst technology to unlock the positive potential of waste CO2 by allowing it to be incorporated as a feedstock, has published research demonstrating that the use of CO2-based polyols in rigid foam applications can boost the flame-retardant properties of these foams.

Econic Technologies’ most recent innovation is tunable catalyst technology allowing bespoke amounts of CO2 to be incorporated into a polyol, delivering targeted benefits to end users. In a recent presentation from Mark Andrews, Senior Scientist, Econic Technologies, entitled: ‘Use of CO2 based polyether carbonate polyols to enhance fire resistance in Polyisocyanurate Rigid Foams’, this tunable catalyst system was shown to lead to a number of added benefits including enhanced fire performance, cost savings and improved processability.

Benefits of CO2 based polyols include:

  • Enhanced performance improvements in fire resistance and heat generation, as well as a reduction in the volume and toxicity of smoke produced.
  • Polyols produced using Econic’s tunable catalyst technology can be made with application specific viscosities, removing the need to blend the CO2 polyols with other conventional polyols, preserving maximum benefits of the CO2 incorporation.
  • Rigid foam which contains 6 -10% of its mass as carbon dioxide can be made – this could lead to over half a million tonnes of CO2 capture and utilisation globally on an annual basis.
  • Increased compatibility with pentane, one of the primary blowing agents used in the production of polyurethane rigid foam. This enables improved processing and lower density products, delivering potential manufacturing cost savings.
  • Lower hydroxyl values than benchmarks, enabling isocyanate savings, allowing lower isocyanate usage, generating further cost savings as well as a reduction of harmful chemical handling in the processing stage.

As Mark Andrews, Senior Scientist at Econic Technologies, commented:
“Now that we have discovered that the use of CO2-based polyols in rigid foam applications not only improves flame retardance, but also cuts toxic smoke emissions and allows for the direct control of polyol viscosity, we hope to help manufacturers improve the safety and longevity of their products, in addition to speeding up the manufacturing process and lowering costs – all of which has the potential to dramatically change polyurethane products for the better.”

Source: Bioplastics MAGAZINE, 2018-07-05.