By Dr Stanislav Fulev and Lyudmila Skokova, H&S Anlagentechnik
H&S Anlagentechnik has developed an innovative technology and reactor installations for the chemical conversion of flexible polyurethane foam residues to polyol. The technology is based on an optimised acidolysis process and produces high-quality recycled polyols at a suitable production scale.
In comparison to previous recycling methods, polyols generated by this H&S techno logy have good reactivity and do not contain primary aromatic amines (methylene and toluene diamine), which are hazardous and not acceptable in bedding and upholstery foams.
Polyurethane foam manufacturers of both rigid or flexible types are showing a lot of interest in recycling technology.
For flexible foam, this is because the methods previously used, such as rebound foam for carpet underlay and sports mats, are no longer economically attractive. Prices for scrap flexible foam have slumped, for example, from €1.1/kg several years ago to €0.30/kg nowadays.
Chemical recycling is a more efficient way to convert residues. Another factor is that polyol prices are rising permanently. Moreover, the ‘green’ aspect of recycling is increasingly important, as everyone is pushed to decrease CO2 emissions.
Recycling is also one of the ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and a closed production loop is also a highly sustainable route.
For rigid foam scrap, prices for disposal are also rising tremendously. In Europe, such…