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Techno-economic assessment of CO2-containing polyurethane rubbers

Buchner, Georg A.; Wulfes, Nils; Schomäcker, Reinhard

Carbon capture and utilization technologies can open up new synthesis routes with economic benefits. Recently, the inclusion of carbon dioxide in polyols was extended by copolymerizing double bond agents. This allows for subsequent chain-extension with diisocyanates to polyurethane rubbers. This paper assesses their economic viability. A preliminary techno-economic assessment based on extended block flow diagrams reveals substantial uncertainty in profitability indicators due to applying a short-cut capital expenditure estimation method. Consequently, a process design for the polyol production was carried out, enabling a refined TEA incorporating an equipment-cost-based approach. Positive net present values are reported for multiple [double bond agent]-[diisocyanate]-[benchmark] combinations. The net present value is most sensitive to the sales and propylene oxide prices. The choice of the double bond moiety has decisive effect; the choice of the diisocyanate has minor effect on the TEA. Finding a favorable market position remains the biggest challenge for CO2-containing synthetic polyurethane rubbers.
Published in: Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 10.1016/j.jcou.2019.11.010, Elsevier