More sustainable polyether polyols based on bio-circular raw materials can also be used in future in prepolymers for high-performance polyurethane adhesives.

Covestro announced that it now also offers polyether polyols using bio-circular¹ feedstock. Together with renewable1 toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and climate-neutral2 methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), the company said it can supply both key raw material components for the production of polyurethane foams based on alternative raw materials. Like TDI and MDI, the polyols are produced with the help of the mass balance approach using renewable precursors – from biowaste and residual materials – which are allocated to the products by calculation.

According to the company, PU rigid foams with MDI provide very efficient thermal insulation in buildings and refrigeration equipment. The soft foams using TDI provide a lot of comfort in mattresses and upholstered furniture, as well as in car seats and shoes. And with these polyols, Covestro is now able to offer selective prepolymers for various adhesive applications. The introduced mass balance approach enables the gradual substitution of fossil-based raw materials by bio-circular alternatives, which further improves the sustainability in these applications.

Covestro produces the polyether polyols in Dormagen, Germany, using the mass-balanced precursor propylene oxide from the shared site with LyondellBasell in Maasvlakte, The Netherlands. There, the two partners produce propylene oxide and styrene monomer as part of a joint venture. Both of the above-mentioned sites are certified according to the internationally recognized ISCC Plus standard.

„With the introduction of both main components for polyurethanes based on alternative raw materials, we have reached another important milestone on the road to climate neutrality,“ said Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer of Covestro. „We can now help customers in a variety of industries meet their climate goals and drive the transition to a circular economy. At the same time, we are reducing the CO2 footprint in various value chains.“

The company said customers can use the more sustainable polyether polyols and isocyanates as a drop-in solution, meaning the raw materials can be quickly and easily integrated into existing production processes without the need for technical modifications. The products are said to offer the same good quality as their fossil-based counterparts and to meet the demands from various industries looking for alternative raw materials. They can be easily distinguished from their fossil counterparts through the CQ suffix in the product name. CQ stands for Circular Intelligence and highlights the company’s products and initiatives around circularity.

1 The more sustainable polyether polyol as well as the renewable TDI are produced with the help of the mass balance approach using renewable raw materials – from biowaste and plant residues – which are mathematically attributed to the product.

2 Climate neutrality is the result of an internal assessment of a partial product life-cycle from raw material extraction (cradle) to Covestro’s factory (gate), also known as the cradle-to-gate assessment. The methodology of the life cycle assessment, which has been critically reviewed by TÜV Rheinland, is based on ISO standards 14040 and 14044. The calculation takes into account the uptake of biogenic carbon. The calculation was based on preliminary data from the supply chain. No compensatory measures were applied.

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