Econic attend 64th Annual CPI Polyurethane Technical Conference in US

This year was the 64th Technical Conference for the Centre for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI). Taking place annually, this is a key fixture for North American polyurethane manufacturers, suppliers and innovators. This year it was held in National Harbor, at the Gaylord Convention Centre and several members of the Econic team attended.

Following the disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, industry leaders clearly welcomed the return to normality: meeting face-to-face and discussing the key trends within their sector. Polyurethanes are found in a range of every day products including mattresses, vehicles, footwear, textiles and building insulation materials. Manufacturers operating across these segments convened at the conference to collaborate on the latest industry changes and innovative developments.

Sustainability was a hot topic with several conference sessions covering different aspects, including recyclability, bio-based feedstocks and sustainable design initiatives. The EU regulatory bodies remain a driving force in the circular economy initiatives, as discussed in presentations from EUROPUR. The regulations will drive manufacturers to consider the end-of-life strategy for their products. Evoco presented their bio-based chemistry for footwear applications, showing the promising performance results and biodegradability at end of life.

Recycling schemes were also discussed and it is clear that significant barriers remain with respect to infrastructure for collection, separation of disparate materials and decisions between chemical and mechanical recycling processes. Evonik presented their hydrolysis-based chemical recycling process for PU foams, which has reached pilot scale.

Econic’s unique technology that transforms captured, waste CO2 into useful products is currently being used to manufacture polyols for use in polyurethane foams. These foams traditionally utilize fossil-fuel based ingredients and a range of potentially hazardous additives. What is undeniably clear from the sessions at CPI is that a range of technologies must be adopted to transform the PU supply chain into a circular economy framework. The enthusiasm for the topic at this year’s event demonstrates an appetite for change. Econic is ready to help the industry transform.

Get in touch to find out how we can help turn waste CO2 into added value for your business.

Author, Anthea Blackburn

Co2nversations – Mark Andrews

Mark joined Econic in 2015 to support Econic’s Application Development team, who focus on demonstrating the product potential that polyols made using Econic’s innovative catalyst technologies can offer to the polyurethane industry. When asked about what he enjoys most about working at Econic, Mark says, “Being able to witness the progress from what is a great laboratory idea, through its scale up, and the realisation of its potential in real world applications, is the most exciting thing about working at Econic. Being able to produce products which not only incorporate sizable quantities of CO2 but also benefit from its inclusion is a very satisfying role!”

One such application benefit can be found in rigid PIR foams, a discovery that Mark recently shared at the UTECH conference in Maastricht. PIR foams prepared from polyols using Econic’s tunable catalyst technology offer significant advantages over conventional polyols, including:

–  Improved viscosity over polyester polyols
–  Enhanced fire resistance
–  Enhanced miscibility with blowing agents for lower density foams

Clearly, the potential that Econic’s technology can offer to PIR foams used in building insulation are notable, and Mark comments “we hope to help manufacturers improve the safety and longevity of their products, in addition to speeding up the manufacturing process and lowering costs.

Further developments in this work will be shared later this year from October 1-3 at the 61st annual Polyurethanes Technical Conference in Atlanta, GA.

For more information on Econic or to inquire about our catalyst technologies, please contact:
Richard French, Business Development Director on +44 1625 238 645

Author, Anthea Blackburn