The Dow Chemical Company has introduced a proprietary process that helps polyurethane manufacturers make products that are performance-based and reduce the impact on the environment. Distinct in the chemical industry, RENUVA™ Renewable Resource Technology is used to produce bio-based polyols with high renewable content in the finished product with performance that rivals petroleum-based polyols.
Dow's work on natural oil-based polyols, which began in the early 1990s, culminates with this next-generation technology, producing bio-based polyols that are virtually odor-free and can be customized to deliver enhanced performance benefits in a broad array of applications. Polyols made with RENUVA™ technology will help manufacturers of commercial and consumer products in the furniture and bedding, automotive, carpet and CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers) markets to more effectively differentiate themselves and meet their customers' growing demand for finished products that are both high quality and environmentally sound.
According to life cycle analysis, RENUVA™ technology uses up to 60% fewer fossil fuel resources than conventional polyol technology and is greenhouse gas neutral. Polyols based on RENUVA™ technology are designed not to have the odor that plagued previous generations of bio-based polyols, which has been a significant obstacle to commercial acceptance. Dow's proprietary process, which reacts the broken-down and functionalized soybean oil molecule with traditional polyurethane components, creates natural oil-based polyols with consistent performance. Commercial quantities of natural oil-based polyols are expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2007. Dow's market development capabilities in Houston, Texas, will serve North America, Latin America and Europe with the ability to expand production to meet demand. Initial offerings are from soybean oil, but Dow will continue to invest in exploring other vegetable oil options for polyols.