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      CO₂ as a raw material

      Carbon dioxide replaces petroleum in plastics and synthetics

      CO₂ as a new raw material – becoming a jack of all trades

      Carbon dioxide shows an unfamiliar side: One of the most prevalent and environmentally dangerous greenhouse gasses, CO₂ is being transformed into a sustainable new raw material. As a result, this gas is can now be found in mattresses and sports floors. In the future, carbon dioxide is also expected to be used in cars. And even clothing and building insulation made with CO₂ technology are no longer a pipe dream! Bound in plastic or synthetic materials, carbon dioxide will find its way into many products used in our daily lives.

      This groundbreaking use of CO₂ is the result of the award-winning process we have developed with our partner RWTH Aachen. More than just technical innovation in plastics and synthetic production, this process conserves fossil fuels and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. It’s an innovative contribution to resource conservation and also to the circular economy, since the carbon from CO₂ is essentially being recycled.

      Carbon dioxide replaces petroleum in plastics and synthetics

      CO₂ as a new raw material – becoming a jack of all trades

      Carbon dioxide shows an unfamiliar side: One of the most prevalent and environmentally dangerous greenhouse gasses, CO₂ is being transformed into a sustainable new raw material. As a result, this gas is can now be found in mattresses and sports floors. In the future, carbon dioxide is also expected to be used in cars. And even clothing and building insulation made with CO₂ technology are no longer a pipe dream! Bound in plastic or synthetic materials, carbon dioxide will find its way into many products used in our daily lives.

      This groundbreaking use of CO₂ is the result of the award-winning process we have developed with our partner RWTH Aachen. More than just technical innovation in plastics and synthetic production, this process conserves fossil fuels and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. It’s an innovative contribution to resource conservation and also to the circular economy, since the carbon from CO₂ is essentially being recycled.

      “We want to make broad use of carbon dioxide as an alternative raw material in the chemical industry. In this way, we will conserve fossil resources and drive forward the circular economy.”
      Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer Covestro

      In sports and in the car

      The next milestones in the use of carbon dioxide

      It all started with soft foam for mattresses. But the next step has been taken from lab to market: CO₂ is also being used as a raw material in sports floors. Furthermore, CO₂ now plays an important role in foams for the automotive industry.

      These sustainable foams are produced with a CO₂ pre-product called cardyon®, laminated with a textile and then used in vehicle interiors. Characterized by a longer service life and material resistance, this new foam is particularly beneficial for headliners but can also be used in door panels and armrests as well as in car seat linings.

      More information

      Press release on driving with CO₂

      Find out more about automobile solutions!

      The new CO₂-based pre-product cardyon® is manufactured at our site in Dormagen before it is sent for further use to the Swiss company FoamPartner, which will market its new product range under the name OBoNature™ in the future.

      Meanwhile, at RWTH Aachen University, work is being done on the production of synthetic fibers with carbon dioxide. The topic is on the threshold of market maturity: Together with colleagues from the Technical University of Berlin and our experts, the researchers in Aachen have succeeded in producing high-performance fibers on a larger scale and processing their first garments. In addition, Covestro is also now able to produce CO₂-based raw materials for insulation board, which can be used by the construction industry, for example.

      More information

      Press release on sports floors with CO₂
      Press release on fibers with CO₂

       
      “Mattresses, sports floors, car parts – carbon dioxide is making its way into everyday life as a sustainable raw material. I am confident we will
      see further applications in the future.”
      Dr. Persefoni Hilken, Covestro project manager

      Moving away from oil

      Intelligent use of carbon dioxide gaining momentum

      We are not only driving forward our own developments for more sustainability and climate protection, but also supporting others in implementing their ideas to fight environmental destruction and excessive greenhouse emissions. For example, we sponsored the new innovation prize "Best CO₂ Utilization 2020,” which was awarded by the renowned nova-Institut.

      At the first award ceremony, three young companies from the USA and Germany were honored. The whole world is likely to be interested in their approaches. They can, for example, produce vodka from carbon dioxide, have developed CO₂-based energy storage solutions and created filters to extract the gas directly from the air. In this way, these companies are showing how climate change can be actively countered. The award also illustrates how important turning atmospheric pollution into an asset has become and how crucial it is for people and the environment.

      Berlin summit sees good prospects

      Finding alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels is not a challenge for the chemical industry alone. Politics, science and the wider society are also beginning to recognize promising potential. This was made evident at the Raw Materials Summit 2019 in Berlin. We were proud to co-organize the event with the Technical University of Berlin and the DECHEMA Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology to help demonstrate how the materials industry is pushing ahead with sustainable production. Themed “Carbon in the circular economy,” the event brought together representatives from across the value chain to explore the potential of sustainable raw materials from waste, plants and CO₂ as an alternative to crude oil. The importance of a vibrant start-up scene in realizing of sustainable processes and products was emphasized at the event. As part of this focus, the “Resource Innovator” prize was awarded to the young company Ineratec from Southern Germany.

      The next Raw Materials Summit is currently planned for 2021 in the Rhineland.

      More information

      Press release on the CO₂ Innovation Award
      Press Release 2019 Raw Materials Summit

      If we want to preserve our planet and improve the quality of life for millions of people, we need to rethink and act courageously.

      We are guided by the sustainability goals of the United Nations (UNSDG). Our research and development, in particular, is geared to these goals.
      Further Information

      Molecules to cheer you up

      The innovative CO₂ technology


      Cardyon® Technologie

      Low-energy and inert carbon dioxide does not exactly make things easy for chemists. In order to set molecules in motion, a great deal of energy normally has to be supplied, which makes no ecological or economic sense. But this has begun to change in recent years, thanks to an innovative catalyst that we developed together with RWTH Aachen University and the CAT Catalytic Center.

      This innovation is a scientific breakthrough: With the help of the catalyst, carbon dioxide can finally be sensibly used for the production of plastics and synthetics. We operate a production facility at our site in Dormagen especially for this purpose. A patented process is used here to produce polyol, a key pre-product for polyurethane plastics such as foams or binders.

      Up to 20 percent carbon dioxide can be integrated into the polyol. As solid carbon dioxide (chemically bound in plastic or synthetics), it cannot re-enter the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide comes from the exhaust gas stream of a neighboring chemical plant. With a production capacity of 5000 metric tons per year, our plant is still quite small, but it offers significant opportunity to explore the market and further develop the process.

      In the future, we can hope to produce polyols on a large scale. After all, not only do we want to help avoid CO₂ emissions, we also want to use as much carbon dioxide as possible to produce plastics and synthetics and thus contribute to the recycling of plastics.

      Giving carbon a second life, together

      Cooperating across industrial and national borders is our path to success. And this was demonstrated in Carbon4PUR, a research project we led to bring together 14 partners across Europe. The goal: To develop a new technology to use exhaust gases from steel miss, such as CO₂, for plastics production. By continuing to work together to develop technologies that give carbon dioxide a second life, we believe we will be able to reduce our carbon footprint and make a positive impact on our world.

      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.


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