Project: Pilot scale demonstration of novel CO2 copolymerisation catalysts in the PU polyol market

 

 

Econic are pleased to announce that one year on following Horizon 2020 grant award,  our demonstration plant is now well under way.

The European polymer industry is under increasing pressure to produce innovative products at lower cost.  Econic Technologies has invented catalyst systems which enable the replacement of up to 40% of petrochemical feedstock in the production of polyurethane polyols, also providing product performance improvement with low cost waste CO2.

The Econic catalyst system creates novel value-add polyol building blocks for polyurethanes as well as offering potential feedstock savings. While competitive catalyst technologies require expensive new high pressure chemical production plant, Econic’s catalyst can be deployed with a low cost retrofit to existing chemical production facilities.

The process combines multiple environmental advantages, by reducing dependency on fossil fuels whilst simultaneously proposing a form of CO2 utilisation which valorises CO2.

Economic and environmental benefits:

Producers save costs and diversify product base; Europe increases its competitive advantage and society cuts CO2 output by reducing the reliance on petrochemical feedstocks.

Society as a whole will benefit by increasing the sustainability of the polyurethane industry, allowing it to substitute non-renewable fossil fuels with CO2, the Econic catalysts save up to 1.2 mT of CO2 per mT of polyol produced. Project impact forecasts show CO2 consumption of 1.5-2 MT/a year by 2023.

 

Econic’s innovative catalysts’ reactivity and selectivity enable CO2 containing polymers to be produced at standard polymer industry pressures which allows the system to be retrofitted to existing chemical plant.  In addition Econic’s tuneable catalyst enables a broad range of CO2 uptake, enabling polyol producers to tailor the CO2 content to each application’s needs. This enables the production of novel polyol products which may have superior physical properties.

The objectives are multiple:

Overall, the development of the technology will enable the polyurethane industry to develop more sustainable manufacturing processes building CO2 into polymers.  The Phase II project funded through the Horizon 2020 grant will enable Econic to demonstrate catalyst performance to customers as well as optimising performance through the use of the customer demonstration plant; this in turn will allow further development of new product innovations and reinforce market acceptance.

The project funded through Horizon 2020 focuses on six key areas:

  • Cost-efficient catalyst manufacture proven scalable for commercial production,
  • Demonstration of the use of the Econic catalyst in industry-relevant setting,
  • Demonstration of downstream market acceptance
  • Securing IP and FTO for new innovations
  • Assuring regulatory compliance
  • Dissemination, communication and exploitation