Green Polyol Patent and Development

Results from our green polyols production trials

During 2009 we started to discuss how to preserve the essential physical properties of urethane foams that contain relatively small amounts of polyols produced from so-called green feedstock. We have worked with a range of NOPs, but these trials specifically focused on those derived from soy, palm, rape and castor oils.

By November 2009, we had submitted six separate patent applications at the UKIPO (United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office).

In March 2010, we combined these applications into a final consolidated patent application, which was submitted to the UKIPO, the USPO (United States Patent Office), and to the internationally recognised Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system.

The relevant numbers for this consolidated Application are:

UKIPO and PCT 3rd March 2010, PCT/GB2010/000381 — Titled “Polyurethane Foam” & USPO 3rd March 2010, US 12/716,684 and also titled Polyurethane Foam

The European Patent Office has since informed us that there are three separate developments within this consolidated application. This means that eventually we will need to break out these developments into separate submissions at the various examination stages.

We have applied for international patent protection as part of the PCT protocol.

The foams are being well received in the market. The PCT Application has now been published and is available for download from this website.

The result in simple terms is that 50% by weight of these foams has been grown on top of a farm field and not drilled from under an oil field.

The Scope of PCT/GB2010/000381
The PCT demonstrates the following:

The removal of the low molecular species normally present in NOPs by reacting the NOP with isocyanates using a specific catalysis.

As a result, the molecular weight spread of the NOP becomes similar in characteristic to that of a petrochemical based polyol, and therefore produces a finished foam with processing and physical properties similar to traditional “non green” foams already in the market.

The ability to include very high levels of NOPs in all urethane foam types (e.g. micro cellular, rigid, semi-flexible and flexible). There are examples in the PCT showing formulations containing 75 php of palm-oil and soy-oil-based NOPs in flexible foam formulations.

The result in simple terms is that 50% by weight of these foams has been grown on top of a farm field and not drilled from under an oil field.

The removal or radical reduction in the odour characteristic of NOPs. The aldehydes and other odour-producing species in NOPs normally give urethane foam materials a familiar burnt-oil or French fries smell.

By choosing the correct isocyanate and catalyst combination, these odour-causing materials can be wrapped up and eliminated, whereby the NOP does not carry its former odour into the finished foam.

The results are especially beneficial in the production of green foams for furniture and bedding, where customers prefer not to detect these odours in their homes or offices.The technology also enables a wide range of stable, low-odour mixtures of NOPs and petrochemical polyols that are easily stored for long periods of time.

Overall, this trial work has provided a number of excellent solutions for the blending, production and sale of rigid and flexible green foams in the A & B Urethane systems market.