Covestro’s Dream Production project, executed at the Dormagen plant (DE) and fully operational since 2016, is a perfect example for those sceptics who doubted that the industrial development and the drive to excellence could be eco-friendly and sustainable.
In this case, a dream has become a reality: transforming the CO₂, from the waste generated by the production processes of plastic and polymers, into efficient raw materials that may be used in the production of new polyols. The Covestro team researchers, in collaboration with the CAT Center in Aachen, have succeeded in creating a virtuous circle that, on the one hand, avoids the dispersion of the CO₂ and, on the other, reuses it in the production circle replacing a quota of conventional raw materials such as petroleum derivatives.
The excellent results of the project are an example of what a thorough and passionate research can achieve through advanced innovation while maintaining the highest quality of the end product.
The turning point of the project was the design of a catalyst able to react with the CO₂ efficiently. The Dream Project has turned out to be a great success generating polyols and polyurethanes similar to those produced through a traditional method.
Covestro has thus identified the balance between production and sustainability, pushing further the boundaries between reality and what until recently was just a dream. The crucial plant expansion works and the subsequent trials were conducted in accordance with the federal Emission Control Act in Germany (BlmSchG) which authorised the activation of a tailor-made chemical reactor.
The goal of Dormagen is now to produce 5.000 tonnes of the CO₂ based polyols annually to become part of the daily lives of thousands of people with products such as mattresses, upholstery for armchairs, sofas and other furniture.
«...today we are very pleased with how far we have come and we want to continue in the same direction: this milestone is the beginning of a long journey in terms of research and innovation to the benefit of the environment and our society.
Dr. Karsten Malsch
We’ve asked Dr. Karsten Malsch, the project manager, for a comment:
«The plant has been running smoothly and the first shipments of our new flexible expanded components produced with the CO₂ have already been delivered to customers. Since the very beginning when we analysed the feasibility of the project, which was a few years ago, we have always worked hard, investing resources and skills in order to achieve our goal. Today we are very pleased with how far we have come and we want to continue in the same direction: this milestone is the beginning of a long journey in terms of research and innovation to the benefit of the environment and our society.
Currently, the polyols we produce contain 20% of the CO₂, our goal, however, is to reach 40%: laboratory tests have demonstrated that it is doable but we must continue with our research.We would also like to use carbon dioxide to manufacture other products such as rigid foam precursors and elastomers».
The Covestro Dream Project is destined to grow further and increase the positive effects of the virtuous circle imagined and realised by our team. The aim of the further studies is to license this new technology and involve others with the aim to reduce the consumption of the oil resources and energy emission related to their refining