The Dow Chemical Company today introduced RENUVA™ Renewable Resource Technology, 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™ 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.
"Dow Polyurethane's leadership in the development of renewable resource technology is yet another example of how our Performance businesses continue to create value for customers as well as long-term growth opportunities for the Company," says Doug Warner, global business director for Dow Polyols. "For Dow, RENUVA™ technology provides an opportunity to decrease dependence on petroleum-based feedstocks. For our customers, it allows them to create 'green' products that contain high levels of renewable content while at the same time delivering the performance their customers want."
According to life cycle analysis, RENUVA™ technology uses up to 60 percent 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.
"We've applied our 50-year expertise in polyurethane chemistry to engineer the natural oil-based polyol's molecular structure and address the root cause of performance issues associated with other bio-based polyols," says Erin O'Driscoll, business development manager, Dow Polyurethanes. "In the past, higher levels of renewable content were synonymous with unpleasant odor. Our natural oil-based polyols boast enhanced environmental profile without the typical odor problems. We are also working with our customers to design natural oil-based polyols based on their particular performance needs in end-use applications.
"Polyol solutions based on RENUVA™ technology support Dow's strategy to grow and develop differentiated, tailor-made performance products that promote our customers' success while reducing environmental impact through technical innovation and industry collaboration," O'Driscoll says.
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.