The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is to invest more than 4.5 million euros over three years in a "Dream Production" project to explore production of polymers based on CO2.
The project, which is supervised by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), includes construction of a kilogram-scale pilot plant at the Chempark Leverkusen, where researchers from Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) and Bayer Technology Services have been exploring production of polyether polycarbonate polyols (PPPs) from CO2.
The researchers say PPPs can be further processed to produce polyurethane polymers.
At the heart of the Dream Production process is catalysis technology developed by Bayer Technology Services.
In the past, it has proved difficult to produce chemicals and monomers from CO2 due to its low energy density, according to BMS. However, the company says recent trials have yielded “promising results”.
"Using the waste product CO2 to manufacture versatile materials is an amazing achievement made possible by catalysis - and one which both we and our project partners are very proud of," says Patrick Thomas, Bayer MaterialScience CEO.
The Dream Production project is based on a forerunner "Dream Reactions" initiative, which was started by Bayer Technology Services and also funded by the BMBF.
"The rewarding collaboration with Bayer MaterialScience and Bayer Technology Services as part of the CAT Catalytic Center laid the foundations for this consortium,” says Prof Walter Leitner, executive director of the Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry at project partner RWTH Aachen University.
Using CO2 as a raw material for manufacturing polymers could help cut consumption of conventional raw materials and fossil fuels.
The CO2 used for the Dream Project will come from RWE Power's lignite-fired power plant at Niederaussem, where the electricity generator is operating a CO2 scrubbing system to remove the gas from its flue. For the Dream Productions project, the CO2 scrubber will be equipped with an additional liquefaction system to simplify transportation.
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Germany invests 4.5m euros in plastics from CO2 pilot