Bayer MaterialScience AG and two partners have received funding from the German government to develop ways to make polyurethane from carbon-dioxide feedstock.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research will invest more than 4.5 million euros (US$5.9 million) during the next three years to fund the project, which would create polyether polycarbonate polyols from carbon-dioxide waste product.
Leverkusen-based BMS is being joined in the project by RWE Power International, a utility firm that ranks as Germany's largest electricity producer, and RWTH Aachen University of Aachen, Germany. A pilot plant using the process will be built in Leverkusen.
Carbon dioxide used in the process will be sourced from RWE Power's plant in Niederaussem, Germany, where the firm operates a carbon-dioxide scrubbing system at its coal innovation center. PPP materials made through the process can be used in building insulation and lightweight auto parts.
Using CO2 as a raw material for manufacturing polymers helps cut consumption of conventional raw materials and, therefore, fossil fuels, BMS officials said in a recent news release.
This strategy also shows future generations how to make sustainable use of natural resources, they added.
BMS is a producer of polycarbonate and other specialty plastics and chemicals. The business is a unit of Bayer AG, the Leverkusen-based firm that ranks as one of the world's largest chemicals makers.