The team has developed a process for using carbon dioxide for the synthesis process, incorporating it into the polymer backbone. This results in polyether polycarbonate polyols, which BMS has now further developed for practical use in flexible foam products such as mattresses.
Such a route means carbon dioxide - -a greenhouse gas that is abundantly available -- can be put to good use as a raw material, opening up "new possibilities for conserving valuable crude oil resources," says BMS.
Bayer was promoting the route last week at the UTECH Europe 2012 event in Maastricht, organised by Crain Communications Ltd.
"The results that have been obtained so far on the use of CO2 in slabstock foam are very promising indeed," according to Dr Hans-Georg Pirkl, an expert for flexible polyurethane foam at Bayer MaterialScience.
Pirkl said properties of the foams BMS has been studying are "equivalent to those of conventional grades." The viscosity of the polyols is a little higher than that of standard products, but processing on existing foaming machines is no problem.