Novomer Inc has been awarded US$2.1 mln in the first phase of a potential US$25 mln federal stimulus grant for sustainable materials production from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Leveraging Novomer's patented catalyst technology -- developed at Cornell University -- Novomer will produce sustainable polymers and polyols using waste CO2 as a primary raw material. Novomer has partnered with Praxair to supply the required repurposed CO2 and Kodak Specialty Chemicals to support polymer process development and scale-up. Novomer is a sustainable materials company pioneering a family of high-performance plastics, polymers and other chemicals from renewable feedstocks such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
At the end of the project, in addition to enabling commercial-scale manufacturing capabilities for sustainable materials with several contract manufacturers, it is expected that several products will be customer qualified requiring commercial scale production of PPC polymers on a global basis. Novomer's materials, polymers based on the co-polymerization of carbon dioxide (CO2), can be designed as both thermoplastic polymers and polyols for the production of various packaging and coating products. As these polymers contain more than 40% CO2 by weight, Novomer's technology requires significantly less petroleum than traditional polymers and converts significant amounts of CO2 into valuable materials, thereby preventing it from being emitted into the environment. "Products and technologies that can be deployed today to help offset CO2 emissions play a fundamentally critical role in the global effort to combat climate change and ensure environmental sustainability," said Jim Mahoney, CEO of Novomer. "Novomer's products are a demonstrable example of that. This funding from the DOE will help fuel our commercialization activities and enable us to make these solutions more widely available faster. We're thankful for and applaud the vision and leadership of Secretary Chu and the Obama administration."
From a materials perspective, when compared to traditional plastics, Novomer's CO2 based polymers are more environmentally friendly, and have mechanical and barrier properties which perform well for a variety of flexible and rigid packaging applications. In addition, Novomer's CO2 based polyols are well suited as resins for protective and decorative surface finishes for metal, wood, and plastic. Potential applications include food and beverage can coatings and linings, coil coating, and automotive and industrial finishes. The first application results have been encouraging and suggest that this project might lead to completely new and unprecedented properties in coatings.
Novomer's project is funded from a US$100 mln program that awarded funds to 12 different companies focused on pathways and novel approaches for reducing CO2 emissions by developing beneficial uses for the gas. Options include technologies for the conversion of CO2 to useful products and fuels and other breakthrough concepts that will mitigate CO2 emissions in areas where geologic storage may not be an optimal solution. Novomer's technology enables the use of greenhouse gases -- including carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide -- as renewable feedstocks in the manufacture of useful materials. Novomer's project will be carried out in two phases. Phase one is a six-month, US$2.6 mln project that includes a 20% industry cost share. Novomer is preparing an application for a follow-on Phase two award which could total US$23 mln. Phase two, a 24-month, approximately US$23 million project, is subject to further DOE evaluation and approval.