Traditional foam and carpet cushion ingredients are made from petroleum-based chemicals. However, the polyols which create them can be made from a renewable resource – soybean oil. Natural oil polyols, also known as biopolyols, are derived from vegetable oils by several different techniques. These bio-based products can be used in many flexible foam markets, including bedding, furniture and car seats. Cargill, works to produce these polyol products and estimates that they produce 36 percent less CO2 emissions, a 61 percent reduction in non-renewable energy use and a 23 percent reduction in total energy consumption. These promising statistics have led to Cargill’s acquisition of BioBased Technologies’ vegetable based polyol product Agrol and other assets. With both companies developing this soybean-based technology it is hoped to drive manufacturers in the foam sector and other industrial markets to create more sustainable products for consumers.
“When you combine Cargill’s size and resources with BioBased Technologies’ expertise, we are going to make substantial advances in the renewable chemistry sector in the years and decades ahead."
The acquisition pairs BioBased Technologies’ ( @BioBasedTech ) unique processing model with Cargill’s ( @Cargill ) global manufacturing capabilities and leverages the sustainable chemistry expertise of the two organisations.
“Combining assets and expertise of BioBased Technologies and Cargill will allow us to bring new innovations to our customers, while also expanding our offerings to serve new customers and other markets,” said Eric Kuckhoff, general manager for Cargill Industrial Specialties in North America.
Easily incorporated into the production process, BiOH polymers mix with existing latex and final carpet backed compounds and can reduce the need for thickeners. The shorter cure times and lower cure temperatures enabled by BiOH polymers save energy, and the shorter production times required can translate to increased product yields. BiOH polymers also reduce VOC emissions from production through finished-product stages, and further improves product performance by increasing binder strength, particularly during wet conditions. For every million pounds of BiOH polyols used, over 2,050 barrels of crude oil are saved.
Engineered to displace chemicals derived from heavy and light crude oil, BiOH polymers significantly reduce manufacturing costs while meeting the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly goods at reasonable prices.
Going forward, Cargill can offer customers products that incorporate higher levels of natural polyols which reduces dependence on petroleum polyols, without sacrificing performance. Further, the acquisition will enable Cargill to expand into applications beyond the foam market, such as elastomers, sealants, coatings, binders and adhesives enabling increased sustainability efforts across those industries.
“When you combine Cargill’s size and resources with BioBased Technologies’ expertise, we are going to make substantial advances in the renewable chemistry sector in the years and decades ahead,” said Amy Sorrell, former chief executive officer of BioBased Technologies,and now Commercial Manager for Cargill Industrial Specialties. “When you have both BiOH and Agrol at your fingertips, there are tremendous opportunities in sustainable polyurethane applications for our customers and the markets we serve.”
European Expansion for BBT The bio-polyol market is going through a rebirth in Europe as customers worldwide are realising the benefits of using renewable and reusable products in their manufacturing. In the past, the major focus overseas was on petroleum pricing. Now the spotlight is back on sustainability.
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