Norner Innovation, Norway-based world leading plastics R&D centre has announced to lead a 4-year research project to continue the development of novel plastic materials based on CO2 as a raw material including the process and production technologies. The project worth 25 mln NOK (approx. US$3.7 mln) will be supported by the Norwegian Research Council and large companies including like Yara and Superfos. This research will view CO2 not as the challenges for the environment but as a valuable, low energy raw material in production of plastics which can be later commercialized for end use. Norner has significant competence and equipment in polymerisation and process technology, materials and their performance as well as expertise of markets and applications. The center - owned 63% by Energy and Environmental Capital and 37% by the employees -has high expectations that the project will lead to a significant development of this technology and the plastic materials. Tine Rørvik, the Director of Norner says, "This is a unique possibility to utilise CO2 as a raw material in polymer production and thereby turn the problematic CO2 and environmental issues. Up to 50wt % of the polymer may be CO2. We look forward to this interesting challenge and will work hard to realise this opportunity to establish new and sustainable plastic materials."
Norner has several advanced and industrial laboratory reactors where the polymer is produced for this project with the relevant monomers and process parameters. This will aid Norner to take the lead in the research of both process technology as well as material science given its world class plastics processing lab and test centre. The development process for control of process parameters and material properties of the polymer is going on as a continuous activity in its pilot reactors which will be accelerated by this new funded project. CO2 is used as one of at least two monomers in the production of the polymer. The properties of these new materials have so far been explored only to a minor extent and this study will prioritize this field so as to ensure commercialization of such materials at a later stage. As per their statement, the property profile of the new materials will not fall within the typical commodity plastics; however, the main challenge and project target will be to explore these properties, develop them further and identify appropriate end use applications.