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German plastics company Covestro has started up a mini-plant at its Dormagen site to research the use of CO from gases in the metal industry to make polymers.
Editorial office / Dormagen

The plant is part of the Carbon2Polymers sub-project, which in turn is part of the larger Carbon2Chem project funded by the German government. The aim is to investigate the use of carbon monoxide (CO) from metallurgical gases from the steel industry for the production of high-quality polycarbonates.

Covestro has been working closely with steel manufacturer thyssenkrupp since 2016. RWTH Aachen University and the Max Planck Institute Mühlheim are also involved in the project.

80% Emission reduction

The first life cycle analyses show that in the alliance between the steel industry and the chemical industry, approximately 0.48 kilograms of CO₂ equivalent can be saved per kilogram of CO supplied. This means a saving of more than 80 per cent.

According to Dr Stefanie Eiden, who is leading the Carbon2Polymers project at Covestro, the knowledge gained can also be useful for other research projects: “Coke oven gases have the advantage that they carry a lot of accompanying substances. If we manage to process the CO in such a way that we can use it for the production of our high-performance plastics, we can do the same with other non-fossil CO sources.” By the end of the year, the economic and ecological viability of the innovative process will be evaluated.

The German government recently decided to fund the Carbon2Chem project until 2024 with an additional €75 million. In the long term, it hopes to make around 20 million tonnes of the steel industry’s annual CO₂ emissions in Germany economically viable.

More information can be found on Covestro’s website.

Image: Covestro