Novomer Inc., a sustainable materials company pioneering a family of high-performance polymers and other chemicals from renewable feedstocks such as carbon dioxide (CO2), has announced the world’s first large-scale manufacturing run of polypropylene carbonate (PPC) polyol, producing over seven tons of finished product. The PPC polyol was scaled up and produced with Albemarle at their Orangeburg, S.C. manufacturing facility using existing Albemarle equipment which was modified for PPC polyol production. This work was completed in conjunction with Novomer’s three-year, $25 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) award.
The recently produced material, a 1,000 molecular weight PPC diol, will be used to accelerate product qualification and adoption in a wide range of conventional polyurethane applications including flexible and rigid foams, adhesives and sealants, coatings, and elastomers. Novomer is currently working closely with several major companies in various segments of the polyurethanes industry and this material will enable commercial scale testing of Novomer polyol.
Novomer polyols are designed to replace conventional petroleum-based polyether, polyester, and polycarbonate polyols. The polyols are based on the co-polymerization of carbon dioxide (CO2) and epoxides and the resulting products contain more than 40% CO2 by weight. The use of waste CO2 as a significant raw material yields a product with an extremely low carbon footprint. In addition, since waste CO2 is significantly lower in cost than conventional petroleum-based raw materials, Novomer polyol manufacturing costs will be favorable compared to conventional polyols when produced at full commercial scale.
In terms of performance, Novomer’s PPC polyol has a unique polycarbonate backbone which increases the strength and durability of polyurethane products. Incorporating these new polyols into existing formulations yields foams with higher tensile, tear strength, and load bearing capacity; adhesives and coatings with improved adhesion, cohesive strength, and weatherabilty; and elastomers with greater tensile and flexural strength.
“We are pleased with the results of this first run and thank the DOE for their support,” said Dr. Ron Valente, Novomer’s Vice President of Research. “This campaign clearly demonstrates the robustness of our catalyst and manufacturing process and we are confident in the ability to move to a larger scale as demand warrants.”
“The process fits well into our Orangeburg infrastructure and only minor modifications were required to enable PPC production,” said David Decuir, Albemarle’s Custom Services Business Director. “We are very confident in our ability to commercially produce Novomer PPC polyol at our Orangeburg plant.”
About Novomer Inc.
Novomer is a leading materials company commercializing a family of low-cost, high-performance, sustainable polymers and other chemicals. Novomer’s groundbreaking catalyst technology allows carbon dioxide and other renewable feedstocks to be cost-effectively transformed into chemical products for a wide variety of industrial markets.
Albemarle Corporation, headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a leading global developer, manufacturer, and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals for consumer electronics, petroleum refining, utilities, packaging, construction, automotive/transportation, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, food-safety and custom chemistry services. The Company is committed to global sustainability and is advancing its eco-practices and solutions in its three business segments, Polymer Solutions, Catalysts and Fine Chemistry . Corporate Responsibility Magazine recently selected Albemarle to its prestigious “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list for 2010 and 2011. Albemarle employs approximately 4,000 people and serves customers in approximately 100 countries.
Albemarle’s Fine Chemistry Services (FCS) division is an innovative, full-service provider of fine chemicals to the world’s leading companies across the pharmaceutical, agrichemical, and specialty materials markets. Albemarle’s FCS division helps global customers complete hundreds of successful projects through a powerful combination of proven chemistry expertise, game-changing process development, high-quality custom manufacturing and exceptional service. From innovative R&D to commercial-scale production, Albemarle’s FCS division delivers the knowledge, experience, resources, creativity and service you need to move products to market faster and accelerate your business.
Source: Novomer, press release, 2013-02-19.