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      CO₂ as a raw material

      CO₂ replaces oil in plastics

      On the way to becoming an all-rounder

      Sleep on CO₂? Absolutely! Walk on CO₂? Not a problem either. Even getting dressed with CO₂ will soon be possible. In an increasing number of areas of everyday life, plastic products are being used that have been manufactured using carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas is thus on its way to becoming a useful raw material. Thanks to a revolutionary process that Covestro and its partners have developed. The big advantage? It saves on crude oil, the conventional raw material of the chemical and plastics industry. An innovative contribution to resource efficiency and a circular economy.

      "Mattresses, sports floors, clothing – CO₂ is becoming a sustainable raw material in everyday life. I'm sure we'll be seeing more applications here".
      Dr. Persefoni Hilken, Covestro project manager
      Click to read more about innovative materials

      Fit with CO2

      The next steps in the use of carbon dioxide

      It all started with soft foam for mattresses. And another step from the laboratory to the market was taken recently: CO2 is now being used as a raw material in the sports sector. More precisely, as a component of the new binder for sports subfloors developed by Covestro. The premiere took place at the end of 2018 on the premises of a renowned hockey team in Krefeld. Here, there is now a bright blue new artificial turf laid on a base of rubber granulate and the binding agent with CO2.

      The main components for the binding agent contain up to 20 percent CO2. What this means is that at this order of magnitude, crude oil can be saved and Covestro can broaden its raw material base. The new CO2-based preliminary product called cardyon® is manufactured at the Covestro site in Dormagen near Cologne, from where it is sent for further processing to the sports flooring manufacturer Polytan, which is part of the Sport Group.

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      At RWTH Aachen University, they are working on another area of application – the manufacture of synthetic fibers using CO2. This application is almost market-ready: Together with colleagues from the Technical University of Berlin and Covestro experts, the researchers in Aachen have succeeded in producing high-performance fibers on a larger scale and processing them to create their first garments.

      More information

      Press release on sports floors with CO₂

      "We place great importance on sustainable raw materials and are always on the lookout for economically sensible alternatives to traditional products. And in the best cases, product quality can even be improved. Covestro guarantees exactly this with cardyon®".
      Daniel Klomp, Purchasing Manager Sport Group

      Away from oil

      CO2 use gaining worldwide momentum

      Covestro is not only driving forward its own developments related to the use of CO2. The company also supports others in realizing good ideas. For example as a sponsor of the new innovation prize “Best CO2 utilization 2019” awarded by the renowned nova Institute. At the first award ceremony, three young companies from Canada, Norway and Germany were honored. They have been able to manufacture fuel, chemicals and even concrete from CO2. The prize shows how important this topic has become and how much is already happening in this field across the world.

      Concrete made from CO₂

      The company Carbicrete from Canada has developed a process of manufacturing concrete without the use of cement – which helped it to achieve first place in the race to win the nova prize. The cement is replaced by ground steel slag and the mixture is then hardened using CO2 instead of heat and steam. The new product is more cost effective, higher quality and more sustainable than concrete with a cement basis.

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      Fuel made from CO₂

      The Norwegian company Nordic Blue Crude has managed to produce synthetic crude oil from CO2, water and renewable energies. This can be used as diesel or kerosene and processed into petrol. They achieved second place in competition.

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      Chemicals made from CO₂

      The company b.fab from Germany has developed a process to efficiently convert CO2, water and renewable energies into value-adding chemicals such as lactic acid. This earned them third place in the competition “Best CO2 Utilisation 2019” sponsored by Covestro.

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      Berlin summit expects great potential

      Finding alternatives to crude oil – not just an issue for industry. Politics, science and society also see promising potential here. This was the conclusion of the second Raw Materials Summit that took place at the Technical University of Berlin in summer 2018, once again organized by Covestro under the patronage of the Federal Ministry of Research. Participants called for the further development and use of non-fossil resources such as CO₂ and plants in order to make chemistry more sustainable and climate-friendly. Young companies in particular could make a major contribution to this. Five start-ups from three continents were selected as "Resource Innovators 2018" at the summit.

      The third Raw Materials Summit is scheduled for November 25, 2019 in Berlin. Theme: "Carbon in the circular economy".

      More information

      Press release about the CO₂ innovation prize
      Press release about the Raw Materials Summit 2018
      Press release about the Resource Innovators 2018

      To preserve our planet and improve the quality and safety of the lives of millions of people, particularly in underserved regions, we need to think and act in a sustainable manner.

      In this respect, Covestro is guided by the goals of the United Nations for Sustainable Development (SDG). The company bases its research and development in particular on these goals.
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      Energizing molecules

      The innovative CO₂ technology

      Cardyon® Technologie

      Low-energy, inert CO₂ is not making things easy for chemists. To set the molecule in motion, lots of energy must normally be supplied – which is neither environmentally nor economically sensible. Over the past few years, however, this has changed thanks to a very special catalyst developed by Covestro together with RWTH Aachen University and the CAT Catalytic Center there.

      This is what proved to be the scientific breakthrough. CO₂ can now finally be used in a sensible manner for plastics production. Covestro also operates a special production facility in its location in Dormagen near Cologne. A so-called polyol, the main preliminary product for polyurethane plastics such as foams and binders, is manufactured here using an innovative, patented process. The first delivery was made to the firm Recticel, a major mattress manufacturer, at the end of 2016.

      Up to 20 percent CO₂ can be integrated into the polyol. Chemically bound, it cannot escape back into the atmosphere. The CO₂ comes from the exhaust gas stream of a neighboring chemical plant. With a production capacity of 5000 tonnes per year, Covestro’s plant is very small. It will serve initially to explore the market and further develop the process.

      In the long run, Covestro can envision producing such polyols on a large scale. After all, the company wants to use as much CO₂ as possible in production and produce as many types of plastics as possible with it.

      Teamwork is the main thing

      Working together across industries and beyond borders is the path to success. This is the case with Carbon4PUR, a research project that links 14 partners across Europe and is managed by Covestro. The aim: To develop a new technology to use emissions from steelworks, such as CO₂ and carbon monoxide, in plastics production.

      More information

      Website about Carbon4PUR
      Press release about Carbon4PUR

      Because good things are rewarded:

      Covestro has received a number of national and international prizes for its new CO₂ technology.

      Please read more on our cardyon® page

      Additional stories

      The fact that we transform CO2 into a raw material from which high-quality plastics can be produced is just one example of how we are pushing the limits. Follow the links below to find out more about our commitment to making the world a better place to live.
      #MyFutureCity
      Innovative materials for the city of the future.
      #EfficientWindPower
      Covestro helps to make wind power more cost effective.
      #CleanerProduction
      Our understanding of sustainability doesn‘t end at the factory gates.
      #PushingBoundaries
      An overview of all highlight stories.
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