Clean-tech pioneer Econic Technologies last week opened the UK’s first carbon capture utilisation demonstration facility.
The first-of-its-kind facility in the UK provides a treatment that can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into polyols which can then be used to make more sustainable polyurethanes for use in products such as automobiles, bedding and footwear.
Located in Runcorn near Liverpool, the plant is owned and operated by Econic Technologies and can handle all production processes for CO2 conversion all the way through to final product treatment.
The new demonstration facility is an exciting step forward in Econic Technologies’ journey to help manufacturers unlock the positive potential of waste CO2. Until now, the creation of polyols from CO2 has been performed in plants at high-pressures and temperatures. Thanks to its new tunable catalyst, Econic Technologies’ plant will be able to produce samples of CO2-based polyols at lower, industrially relevant temperatures and pressures.
Rowena Sellens (left), CEO of Econic Technologies, commented, “The demonstration facility is essential to helping our pioneering catalyst technologies develop as they move out of the lab and into the factory.”
“As a company, we want to help drive the market adoption of polyols and our new plant provides an opportunity for us to encourage significant uptake in the industry. The interest from polyol manufacturers and downstream polyol users in the facility has been overwhelming already. We are extremely confident that once we start demonstrating what our technology can do, we will help catalyse a transformation in attitude when it comes to the positive potential of carbon.”
Econic Technologies’ catalysts enable manufacturers to reuse waste CO2 by allowing it to be incorporated as a feedstock, which offers not only a sustainable benefit by reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, but also an economical benefit by enhancing margins. The company hopes that by 2027, 30% of all polyol production will take place using Econic’s catalyst technologies, which could save 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year – the equivalent to taking two million cars off the road.
About Econic Technologies
Founded in 2011 by Charlotte Williams, now Professor of Catalysis and Materials Chemistry at the University of Oxford, and David Morgan, formerly an executive director of catalyst company Johnson Matthey plc, Econic Technologies pioneers catalyst technologies for application within the plastics industry.
The talented team of scientists, engineers and commercial managers conduct their cutting-edge work in a state-of-the-art facility at Alderley Park, the internationally renowned science hub south of Manchester with an additional customer demonstration plant located at The Heath in Runcorn.
The underlying catalyst technology was developed at Imperial College London, one of the top research universities in Europe. Econic Technologies has since gone on to develop industrially tailored catalyst systems that enable the utilisation of captured CO2 as a feedstock for manufacturing polyols. Bespoke amounts of CO2 may be used (from low levels up to the maximum 50%) depending on the application of the polyol. This means producers can achieve 30% cost savings on raw material feedstock as well as significant environmental benefit from lower CO2 emissions.