The Dow Chemical Company has introduced a process named RenuvaTM Renewable Resource Technology that helps polyurethane manufacturers make performance-based products with reduced impact on the environment. Dow’s proprietary process reacts the broken-down and functionalized soybean oil molecule with traditional polyurethane components creating natural oil-based polyols with consistent performance.
Dow’s work on natural oil-based polyols, began in the early 1990s. With the new technology, producing bio-based polyols that are virtually odor-free and can be customized to deliver enhanced performance benefits in a broad array of applications. Polyols made with Renuva technology will help manufacturers of commercial and consumer products in the furniture and bedding, automotive, carpet and CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers) markets to more effectively differentiate themselves and meet their customers’ growing demand for finished products that are both high quality and environmentally sound.
Doug Warner, global business director for Dow Polyols, says: “For Dow, Renuva technology provides an opportunity to decrease dependence on petroleum-based feedstocks. For our customers, it allows them to create “green” products that contain high levels of renewable content while at the same time delivering the performance their customers want.”
Products “virtually odor-free”
Polyols based on the new technology are designed not to have the odor that plagued previous generations of bio-based polyols, which has been a significant obstacle to commercial acceptance.
“Polyol solutions based on Renuva technology support Dow’s strategy to grow and develop differentiated, tailor-made performance products that promote our customers’ success while reducing environmental impact through technical innovation and industry collaboration,” O’Driscoll says.
Commercial production to start this year
Commercial quantities of natural oil-based polyols are expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2007. Dow’s market development capabilities in Houston, Texas, will serve North America, Latin America and Europe with the ability to expand production to meet demand. Initial offerings are from soybean oil, but Dow will continue to invest in exploring other vegetable oil options for polyols.
Based on third-party validation, life-cycle analysis shows the new process to be greenhouse gas neutral and to use 60 percent fewer fossil fuel resources than conventional polyol technology.
Press release Breakthrough Technology from Dow Polyurethanes Promotes Sustainable Chemistry and Excellent
Product Performance (PDF-document)
Source: The Dow Chemical Company, press release, 2007-09-25.