Turning CO2 into raw material

Covestro Invited as Guest Speaker at Sustainable City Forum

Smart City Summit & Expo is the largest event for smart city and the IoT industry in Asia.  One part of the program, the 2017 Sustainable City Forum, hopes to deliver a message that the purpose of smart city development is to achieve the sustainable development of cities in terms of energy conservation, e-mobility, circular economy, renewable energy and cleaner water and air therefore securing implementation of the COP21’s global carbon reduction targets. Invited by the Low Carbon Initiative of the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan and Taipei Computer Association (TCA), Covestro shared its successful case in a Circular Economy session by explaining how Covestro turns the carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial waste output into useful material that can replace oil in the production of high-quality foams.

Oil makes the world go round. It is also the basic ingredient in many drugs and is found in practically all plastics.  But resource depletion is among the main challenges that the world is facing now.  “While we are facing this shortage, actually there is something else that we have in abundance that can be used instead – carbon dioxide. This waste gas has something in common with oil: It contains the element carbon, a central building block for the chemical industry,” said Michael Lee, Managing Director of Covestro Taiwan.  Covestro has proved that it is possible for this greenhouse gas to become a new raw material for commercial use. In December 2016, Covestro started delivering the novel CO2  polypol to customers.

Covestro held the inauguration for its CO2 plant in Dormagen last summer. In this innovative approach, CO2 serves as a new raw material, replacing a portion of the petroleum on which the precursor is usually based.  This contributor to sustainability and pioneering scientific achievement has now commenced industrial production.

“Improving the sustainability of everything we do is an integral part of our business strategy and this principle is implemented in our CO2 project. We have succeeded in turning a waste gas that is potentially harmful to the climate into a useful raw material,” said Alec Yang, Head of PUR of Covestro Taiwan, who shared insights from the CO2 project on Covestro’s behalf at the forum.

Covestro is working to integrate even more CO2 into its products. In the case of the precursor from the Dormagen plant, a “polyol,” the CO2 content is roughly 20 percent. Other projects have already achieved contents of over 40 percent in the lab. Covestro is also striving to use CO2 for the manufacture of other products besides flexible foam. Potential products that have already been tested in the lab include precursors for rigid foam and elastomers. The company is also willing to license the technology. This would conserve limited petroleum resources throughout the industry while reducing the need to refine oil, which is energy and emissions intensive.

About Covestro:
With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer producers. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. Covestro has 30 production sites around the globe and as of December 31, 2016, employed approximately 15,600 people.

Find more information at www.covestro.com.

Forward-looking statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available on the Covestro website at www.covestro.com. Covestro assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.