EU Backs Covestro Project
The use of carbon dioxide and other waste gases as a new source of raw materials is increasingly a topic of interest at the European level. A new consortium of 14 partners from seven countries, led by materials manufacturer Covestro, is now planning to investigate how flue gas from the steel industry can be used to produce plastics in a particularly efficient and sustainable way. This will save crude oil, the raw material used in conventional methods. The crosssector project called Carbon4PUR receives funding from the European Union.
Markus Steilemann, the Covestro Board Member responsible for Innovation, Marketing and Sales, said: “Together, we are on the path to a crucial innovation – waste gas mixtures from the steel industry can provide carbon for a chemical processes and ultimately be used to produce insulation materials and coatings.
Covestro and partners
“This helps us to broaden our resource base and to reduce the climate footprint for the entire value chain. At the same time, we are joining our forces by partnering with industrial and academic partners throughout Europe.”
The European Union is supporting Carbon4PUR under the auspices of SPIRE, the European PublicPrivate Partnership, dedicated to innovation in resource and energy efficiency enabled by the process industries. About eight million euros are provided for the three years.
The project aims to use mixtures of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, which are generated during steel production, to produce polyols – key components of polyurethane-based insulating materials and coatings that are otherwise obtained from crude oil.
The gas mixture will be subjected to a chemocatalytic process and converted directly into building blocks and intermediates for polyurethanes. This can reduce its carbon footprint by 20 to 60 percent. The ideal starting conditions for the industrial pilot project already exist: in the southern French town of Fos-sur-Mer, an ArcelorMittal steel factory and a Covestro production facility are close neighbours. The gas recovery project consortium includes academic and institutional partners such as RWTH Aachen University, TU Berlin, Dechema, Imperial College London, and the universities of Ghent and Leiden. From its base in southern France, Covestro could deliver its innovative intermediate products to additional industrial partners, such as Recticel, a Belgium-based polyurethane foam manufacturer, and Megara Resins, a Greek supplier to the coatings industry.