Carbon dioxide, a renewable resource

Carbon dioxide (CO2) as sustainable feedstock for polyurethane production

Jens Langanke, Aurel Wolf, Jörg Hofmann, Katrin Böhm, Muhammad A. Subhani, Thomas E. Müller, Walter Leitner and Christoph Gürtler

A dream comes true: tailor-made polyethercarbonate polyols are synthesised from propylene oxide and CO2. Molecular weight and functionality of these polyethercarbonate polyols are controlled by the use of an appropriate alcohol starter enabling innovative applications as a polymer building block. Interestingly, the properties of the polyethercarbonate polyols can be adjusted in a wide range by tuning CO2 content and architecture. The feasibility of using such tailored polyethercarbonate polyols in the production of polyurethanes is demonstrated as a prime example for a novel CO2 utilization with industrial potential.

read more: Green Chem. 2014, 16, 1865

Life cycle assessment of polyols for polyurethane production using CO2 as feedstock: insights from an industrial case study

Niklas von der Assena and André Bardow

Polyethercarbonate polyols from carbon dioxide (CO2) are starting to be synthesized on industrial scale. These polyols can be further processed into polyurethanes enabling CO2 to be utilized in large amounts. Utilization of CO2 as alternative carbon feedstock for polyols is motivated from the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fossil resource depletion. This article presents a life cycle assessment for production of CO2-based polyethercarbonate polyols in a real industrial pilot plant. The considered cradle-to-gate system boundaries include polyol production and all upstream processes such as provision of energy and feedstocks. In particular, provision of CO2 from a lignite power plant equipped with a pilot plant for CO2 capture is considered. Production of polyols with 20 wt% CO2 in the polymer chains causes GHG emissions of 2.65–2.86 kg CO2-eq kg−1 and thus, does not act as GHG sink. However, compared to production of conventional polyether polyols, production of polyols with 20 wt% CO2 allows for GHG reductions of 11–19%. Relating GHG emission reductions to the amount of CO2 incorporated, up to three kg CO2-eq emissions can be avoided per kg CO2 utilized. The use of fossil resources can be reduced by 13–16%. The impacts reductions increase with further increasing the CO2 content in the polyols. All other investigated environmental impacts such as eutrophication, ionizing radiation, ozone depletion, particulate matter formation, photochemical oxidant formation, and terrestrial acidification are also lowered. Therefore, synthesis of polyethercarbonate polyols from CO2 is clearly favorable compared to conventional polyether polyols from an environmental point of view.

read more: Green Chem., 2014,16, 3272-3280

Carbon Dioxide as a Carbon Resource - Recent Trends and Perspectives

Markus Hölscher, Christoph Gürtler, Wilhelm Keim, Thomas E. Müller, Martina Peters, and Walter Leitner

With the growing perception of industrialized societies that fossil raw materials are limited resources, academic chemical research and chemical industry have started to introduce novel catalytic technologies which aim at the development of economically competitive processes relying much more strongly on the use of alternative carbon feedstocks. Great interest is given world-wide to carbon dioxide (CO2) as it is part of the global carbon cycle, nontoxic, easily available in sufficient quantities anywhere in the industrialized world, and can be managed technically with ease, and at low cost. In principle carbon dioxide can be used to generate a large variety of synthetic products ranging from bulk chemicals like methanol and formic acid, through polymeric materials, to fine chemicals like aromatic acids useful in the pharmaceutical industry. Owing to the high thermodynamic stability of CO2, the energy constraints of chemical reactions have to be carefully analyzed to select promising processes. Furthermore, the high kinetic barriers for incorporation of CO2 into C–H or C–C bond forming reactions require that any novel transformation of CO2 must inevitably be associated with a novel catalytic technology. This short review comprises a selection of the most recent academic and industrial research developments mainly with regard to innovations in CO2 chemistry in the field of homogeneous catalysis and processes.

read more: Z. Naturforsch. 2012, 67b, 961 – 975

Further information

Sustainable carbon sources for the chemical industry – New products based on CO2 as a building block for polyurethane plastics

C. Gürtler

Carbon2Polymer – Chemical Utilization of CO2 in the Production of Isocyanates

Walter Leitner, Giancarlo Franciò, Martin Scott, Christian Westhues, Jens Langanke, Markus Lansing, Christine Hussong, Eric Erdkamp

Chemie Ingenieur Technik (2018), 90(10), 1504-1512

Carbon Dioxide Utilisation - Closing the Carbon Cycle

Peter Styring, Elsje Alessandra Quadrelli and Katy Armstrong

About the book

CO2 chemistry

Mueller, Thomas E.; Leitner Walter

CO2 as a chemical building block

Reese, Jack; Haider, Karl; Guertler, Christoph

Sustainable carbon sources for the chemical industry - New products based on CO 2 as a building block for polyurethane plastics

Guertler, C.

Chemie Ingenieur Technik (2018), 90(9), 1141

Carbon dioxide as a carbon resource - recent trends and perspectives

Hoelscher, Markus; Guertler, Christoph; Keim, Wilhelm; Mueller, Thomas E.; Peters, Martina; Leitner, Walter

Zeitschrift fuer Naturforschung, B: A Journal of Chemical Sciences (2012), 67(10), 961-975

Worldwide Innovations in the Development of Carbon Capture Technologies and the Utilization of CO2

Peter Markewitz, Wilhelm Kuckshinrichs, Walter Leitner, Jochen Linssen, Petra Zapp, Richard Bongartz, Andrea Schreiber and Thomas E. Müller

Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 7281

Chemical Technologies for Exploiting and Recycling Carbon Dioxide into the Value Chain

Martina Peters, Burkhard Köhler, Wilhelm Kuckshinrichs, Walter Leitner, Peter Markewitz and Thomas E. Müller

ChemSusChem, 2011, 4, 1216

CO2 Fixation in Polymers

Thomas E. Müller