Better insulation with polyurethane

The answer to urbanization, climate change and scarcity of raw materials


Covestro concentrates on digitalization and sustainability

Global trends such as urbanization, sustainability, climate change and scarce fossil fuels are creating demand for high-performance building insulation at reasonable prices. Polyurethane (PU) and polyisocyanurate (PIR) rigid foams have proven their performance as insulating materials for decades and are perfectly suited to reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions in buildings, conserving fossil fuels and saving costs at the same time.

PU and PIR rigid foams are processed into insulating boards and used in private and commercial buildings from cellars to roofs. In the form of sandwich panels with two metallic cover layers, they are also used for large-area and efficient insulation of industrial and commercial buildings. At the plastics trade fair K 2019, Covestro will be presenting information on the subject of building insulation at Stand A75 in Hall 6 – in a compact presentation but simultaneously with the necessary depth of detail.

The insulating performance of PU and PIR is at least 30 percent higher than that of conventional insulating materials such as expanded polystyrene (EPS), rock wool or glass wool. As a result, their use facilitates space-saving insulation thicknesses. That also makes the materials ideal for maximizing the living space in buildings – an advantage especially in urban areas where there is a lack of land and installation space. PIR foams are mechanically more robust and achieve even better fire protection classifications than PU rigid foam.

Digitalized production

With its Digital technical Services (DtS), Covestro supports customers in the optimized production of sandwich panels by means of digitalization. In particular, digital, computer-aided chemistry and "machine learning models" enable increased efficiency and cost savings, for example by avoiding waste, but also by improving product quality through more stable processes.

Current research projects

Covestro is currently developing new formulations based on the so-called fourth generation of propellants ("HFOs"). The aim is to further reduce thermal conductivity compared to pentane. As a result, the lambda value can be reduced by around four points, for example from 0.023 W/m·K to 0.019 W/m·K.

In addition, the focus is on new systems for improved customer competitiveness and a new generation of plastic casting rakes for faster panel production.

On the way to even more sustainability

In addition, Covestro uses alternative raw materials for its production in order to reduce its own dependence on fossil resources. Covestro is also working intensively on the development of a CO2-based raw material for PU rigid foam.

In the framework of the Carbon4PUR research project, a consortium of 14 partners from seven countries led by Covestro investigates how flue gas from the steel industry can be used to produce polyurethanes in a particularly efficient and sustainable way. This will save crude oil, the raw material used in conventional methods.

Together with partners, the company has also developed a unique method for the production of the important chemical primary product aniline from renewable raw materials. This bioaniline could be used in the future to produce MDI, a major component of PU rigid foam.

In cooperation with customers, authorities and non-governmental organizations, Covestro is developing affordable solutions based on its technologies and products as part of its "Inclusive Business" project, from which lower-income population groups in particular can benefit. A number of projects to create affordable housing using PU rigid foam have already been successfully completed in Asian countries.

About Covestro

With 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,800 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2018.

For more information please see www.covestro.com.
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/covestro

Forward-looking statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.