Flue gases from the steel manufacturing industry contain a mixture of carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO), harmful gases for the environment but valuable components for chemical production of synthetic materials. Cardyon foam is a recently developed synthetic material in which 20% of the oil-based reactants are replaced by waste gas from the steel industry.
Currently, the majority of foam products are reliant on the extraction of crude oil and extremely damaging to the environment. Nevertheless, foams take on a seemingly irreplaceable role in society. They are used to make many everyday products such as: air filters, insulation materials, furniture or even lightweight beams. In the quest to find more durable material compositions for plastic, Carbon4PUR is a pioneering research project, led by polymer developer Covestro, with 14 partners from 7 European countries. Their research has shown that the usage of crude oil, in the production of plastics, could partially be replaced by the use of CO2 and CO.
One of the materials that was created in the initiative is Cardyon. A soft foam that is partially made from CO and CO2, captured from steel factories. It is made between the chemical reaction of CO2 with propylene oxide in the presence of a catalyst. The result is a soft foam that can be used instead of conventional foams made from crude oil. It possesses the same insulating and durable qualities. The innovative technology allows a reduction of the environmental impact of steel and polyurethane production of 10% by substitution of up to 20% of the oil-based reactants.
This material was created within Carbon4PUR, a European consortium working to generate an economic application to CO/CO2 waste streams. The project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
Covestro is a company that specialises in the production of new polymer materials.