Cargill is now selling commercial volumes of biobased polyols to large flexible polyurethane foam manufacturers in the automotive, furniture and bedding industries, becoming the leading biobased polyol maker for the flexible foam market. CargillÌs technology has overcome the problems of consistency and odor that have plagued previous attempts by others at making biobased polyols for flexible foam.
Earlier efforts to commercialize biobased polyols were focused on rigid foams and coatings due to the high technical hurdles presented by formulating biobased polyols into flexible foams. Cargill’s biobased polyols for flexible foams – made through a proprietary process that can employ a number of natural oils, including linseed, rapeseed, soy and sunflower – meet the technical requirements for commercial scale manufacturing processes. They become the first of what will be a line of Cargill biobased polyols across a range of urethane applications.
Designed to deliver performance as well as environmental advantages, Cargill’s biobased polyols give companies the ability to differentiate from their competitors and gain a degree of protection against the uncertainty of oil and natural gas supplies. Both were factors for the Woodbridge Group and Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company – two leading polyurethane foam manufacturers – in their decisions to use CargillÌs biobased polyols in their products.
“By incorporating Cargill’s renewable biobased polyol in our new foam, we’ve taken a giant step for the furniture and bedding industries,” said Bobby Bush, vice president of foam and environmental technology at Hickory Springs. “No longer are we solely dependent on petrochemicals for raw materials. A new day is dawning, and Hickory Springs is there at sunrise.”
Dimitri Dounis, corporate director of marketing and research and development at Hickory Springs, added, “In an unprecedented event, we are introducing a new line of polyurethane foam products made with this biobased polyol that are not only more environmentally responsible but also bring performance improvements.”
The Woodbridge Group, a global leader in polyurethane foams for the auto industry, was an early adopter. “The Woodbridge group is pleased about the development of Cargill’s biobased polyols,” said Hamdy Khalil, PhD, global director of research and product development for Woodbridge. “We feel it is vital to explore the use of chemicals derived from viable renewable resources. We are now in a position to offer our customers product options that are derived from sustainable resources and support a strong commitment to our environment.”
Although Cargill currently has capacity in place to handle large volume needs for several years, it is also preparing for the time when it will need to expand its capabilities across multiple global production facilities.
According to Yusuf Wazirzada, business manager of CargillÌs biobased urethane polyols, the key to successfully bringing the product to market has been collaborating with customers. “We’ve been working closely with the major urethane players, who have deep insights and knowledge in the field,” he said. “By coupling their capabilities with our expertise in agricultural resources, weÌve been able to develop and deliver the high-performance product they need.”
While not yet a household name in the urethane industry, Cargill is a global leader in its traditional businesses of food, agricultural and risk management products and services. The privately held, $71 billion company is dedicated to finding new markets for crops through trading, processing, refining or adding further value.
“We have been innovating with agricultural products for 140 years,” Wazirzada continued. “It is no surprise that we are leading the way in bringing renewables to the urethane market. Cargill has the will and capability to make this a successful worldwide business. Our supply chains are among the most sophisticated on the planet. We know how to make quality products and get them to our global customers reliably.
“The significant price increases for crude oil and natural gas, their inherent volatility, uncertainty of supply and the fact that these are finite fossil fuels are all good reasons to look at Cargill’s growing line of biobased industrial polyols,Ó Wazirzada concluded. “It’s simply a responsible choice we can provide.” He invited companies interested in exploring the possibilities of biobased urethane polyols to contact Cargill via phone at 1-877-POLYBIO (765-9246) or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Cf. news of March 02, 2006.)
Source: Cargill pressrelease March 07, 2006.