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30.10.2017 | Materials Technology | News | Onlineartikel

Europeans Join Forces on CO2 Use

Nadine Klein

The use of carbon dioxide as a new source of raw materials is increasingly a topic of interest at the European level. A consortium of fourteen partners intends to investigate how flue gases can be used to produce plastics.

A new consortium of fourteen partners from seven countries, led by materials manufacturer Covestro, is now planning to investigate how flue gases from the steel industry can be used to produce plastics in a particularly efficient and sustainable way. This would save crude oil, the raw material used in conventional methods. The cross-sector project called Carbon4PUR receives funding from the European Union. Specifically, the project aims to use mixtures of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, which are generated during steel production, to produce polyols. These polyols are key components of polyurethane-based insulating materials and coatings that are otherwise obtained from crude oil.

Significantly smaller CO2 footprint 

The process being developed is special because it eliminates the resource-intensive step of separating the waste gas into its different gases. Instead, the gas mixture will be subjected to a chemo-catalytic process and converted directly into intermediate products, which can reduce their CO2 footprint by 20 to 60 percent. Ideal starting conditions for the industrial pilot project already exist: in the southern French town of Fos, ArcelorMittal’s steel mill and Covestro’s production facility are close neighbours. The gas recovery will be developed by academic and institutional partners such as RWTH Aachen University, the Technical University of Berlin, DECHEMA, Imperial College London, Ghent University, Leiden University, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, South Pole Carbon Asset Management, Great Seaport of Marseille and PNO Consultants. From its base in southern France, Covestro could deliver its innovative intermediate products to additional industrial partners such as Belgium-based polyurethane foam manufacturer Recticel and Greece-based coatings producer Megara Resins.

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