Catalyst to capture CO2 to make everyday goods25/08/17Environment
A team of scientists in the UK has announced a major breakthrough in the fight against climate change with the creation of a new tunable catalyst.
The catalyst is capable of utilising captured carbon dioxide as a raw material for polyols. Econic Technologies is hopeful that by 2027, 30% of all polyol production will take place using the catalyst, meaning that 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions could be saved each year.
With a global market valued in excess of £15bn (~€16bn), polyols are crucial building blocks in polyurethane, which is used to make automobiles, bedding, furniture, footwear and other household and industrial products. Econic Technologies’ new tunable catalyst now enables polyol manufacturers to incorporate bespoke amounts of captured CO2 emissions into these polyol chains during the manufacturing process. The amount of CO2 can be increased or decreased depending on the performance requirements of the application.
The tunable catalyst allows CO2 to be incorporated at low pressures via equipment that is retrofitted easily and economically to existing production plants.
Not only does the catalyst enable manufacturers to use their own carbon dioxide emissions as a raw material, but it also reduces the quantities of environmentally demanding, oil-based inputs.
Dr Rowena Sellens, CEO of Econic Technologies, said: “From cars and mattresses to footwear and fridges, polyols and the polyurethanes they make are a fundamental component of an incredibly wide range of applications. The positive potential for businesses and the planet, provided by Econic Technologies’ catalysts, is huge – and so are our ambitions.
“As the tunable catalyst moves out the lab and into mainstream use, we are aiming to work with our customers to totally transform polyurethane manufacturing: making it greener, cheaper and safer.”