Report by Dr Ho Lim, KPX Chemical Co. Ltd, R&D Center, 300-2 Yeocheon-dong, Nam-gu, Ulsan, Korea Paper given at the 2nd international polyurethane forum held in Busan, Korea, 31 May – 1 June 2010, organised by the Korean Polyurethane
Traditionally, the materials used to form polyurethane foams for industrial applications are derived from petrochemical resources such as propylene oxide and ethylene oxide. Using renewable resources as feedstocks for chemical processes will reduce the environmental impact by decreasing the demand for non-renewable fossil fuels currently used in the chemical industry and reduce the overall emission of carbon dioxide, the most notable greenhouse gas. Over the years, natural oil based polyols (NOPs) are getting a lot of attention and have been synthesised utilising biobased material (vegetable oil) such as soyabean, palm and castor oil to replace petroleum feedstock.
In this study, we review the background of NOPs, properties and market of vegetable oils and manufacturing processes of NOPs. Also we show several NOPs, and then go on to describe experimental work at KPX on polyols based on various seed oils. We discuss the physical properties of polyurethane foam made with these NOPs, compared with properties of foams made using conventional polyols. Lastly we consider the present problems and the future of NOPs as a eco-friendly material.
The chemical sector is normally a petroleum based economy, using…