Intermediates & polymers

CroCO2PETs: Cross-linkable CO2–polyether polyols

Project description

Climate protection by means of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) relies on CO2-utilizing, energy saving, and low carbon footprint chemistry, which has the potential to substitute established mass products by means of CO2-containing compounds. Polyether polyols (PETs) are such a mass intermediate. First CO2-containing PETs are about to enter the market.

It is important to note that the reductions of the global warming impact result from

  • the capture of CO2 e.g. from flue gas, and chemical fixation of the respective CO2
  • the substitution of energy intensive raw materials by means of low-energy materials, and
  • novel, energy efficient processes.

These three mechanisms lead to a reduction of up to 3 kg CO2-equivalent GHG emissions by the incorporation of only one kg CO2 into CO2-PET. Taking into account the global polyol production these new polymers have the potential to reduce GHG emissions by an order of magnitude of 1 million tons per year. Moreover, the utilization of CO2 as raw material vitalizes an alternative carbon source, which can significantly reduce fossil depletion by chemical production.

Cross-linkable CO2-PETs have the potential to considerably extend the product portfolio of CO2-polyols. The Climate-KIC innovation project ‘Dream Products’ has successfully been taking first decisive steps towards the production of cross-linkable PETs at 50 kg scale. To make these compounds real ‘drop-in solutions’, a matrix of material properties and specifications of existing products has yet to be met. Four product groups are in focus covering a broad spectrum of elastomer applications. Frequently refined assessment of technical feasibilities, life cycles, economic potentials and entrepreneurial leverages facilitate decision-making on implementation of results and market launches.
Bringing life to the concept of enCO2re:

We do research and development to enable CO2-reuse by

  1. building a solid platform of CO2-containing polymers and
  2. utilizing this platform for a broad portfolio of applications.

For CroCO2PETs, this means

  1. Develop synthesis routes towards unsaturated CO2-containing polyols and polyurethanes
  2. Prepare these polymers at a scale sufficient to perform application tests
  3. Process CroCO2PETs like established materials, which are less climate-protective
  4. Test these products applying standard protocols for established materials
  5. Assess business opportunities for the new, climate-protective materials
  6. Assess the environmental impact of the new CO2-containing materials in comparison to the established materials to be substituted

key benefits

With CroCO2PETs, we strive to extend the product portfolio of polymers, which contain covalently bound CO2. In this R&D&I-project, we carefully monitor technical feasibility, economic viability and carbon footprint of our research products in order to stay on the way towards marketable sustainable products. The CO2-polyols we work at have the potential to replace current commodities, so that the emission of up to several million tons of greenhouse gases is potentially avoided.

EnCO2re added value

What we do, exploring pathways towards an economically viable production of sustainable new CO2-polymers, is a great challenge. The good point about enCO2re is, that we could join a critical mass of experts for our activity and embed this activity in a network dedicated to all aspects of CO2-reutilization. The risk of failure is shared among the partners and EIT/Climate-KIC by means of contributions of all partners. The partners gratefully acknowledge the public funding of our project ‘CroCO2PETs’ by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and its affiliate, the network for climate protection ‘Climate-KIC’.

“CO2-reuse is an emerging field in chemical production. It is especially fascinating to explore and develop sustainable products with a low carbon footprint, which have the potential to replace well-established materials, which are less environmentally benign.”

Project Duration

5/2015 – 4/2018

Project Consortium

  • Covestro Deutschland AG
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • TU Berlin

Dr. Jochen Norwig

Project Leader, Covestro Deutschland AG

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