Leverkusen, Germany - Bayer Material Science has developed an innovative technology, which combines alkoxylation and transesterification, for making NOPs (natural oil polyols) for use in rigid polyurethane foam.
"The new process uses an ingenious method to merge two chemical reactions in a single step," said Dr Klaus Lorenz, senior principal scientist with the Polyether Process Development at BMS, in the group's 30 April announcement. "By combining the processes of alkoxylation and transesterification, we can produce polyols with a higher content of vegetable oil components and yet deliver the same range of properties and the structural diversity of conventional polyols."
"Polyether polyols based on sugar may contain up to about 30 percent renewable raw materials: this new process allows between 40 and 70 percent renewable raw materials," the company claims.
Experts believe these new polyols will continue to grow in importance due to their sustainable nature and current reliance on dwindling fossil fuels, said BMS.
Rigid foam based on NOPs produced by this new process, made using various popular blowing agents, have properties that "not only match, but in some cases even surpass, those of conventional products," claims BMS.
The company added, "The exceptional compatibility with conventional polyols means that the quantity of NOPs in formulations can increase." This in turn will mean preferential treatment from US government bodies, whose procurement guidelines favour companies producing products made from renewable raw materials, the group added.
"We are encouraged that the NOP's which BMS is developing will provide a good addition to our line of performance products," said head of applications development for Rigid Specialities Raw Materials of BMS, William Nicola, in the BMS statement.