The Development Process:
Green Polyols Production Trials
During 2009 we started to discuss ideas of how to preserve the essential physical properties of urethane foams which contain relatively small amounts of polyols produced from so called “green feedstock.” We specifically explored the polyols derived from oils extracted from modern-day plant and animal sources; as opposed to crude oil derivatives, which of course are derived from “ancient” plant and animal resources.
We have worked with a range of NOPs but specifically with derivatives of soy, palm, rape and castor oils.
By November 2009, we had submitted six separate patent applications at the UKIPO (United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office).
March 3, 2010 saw us combine 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”
We have been informed by the European Patent Office 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 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 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 foams types (e.g. micro cellular, rigid, semi-flexible and flexible). You may note that there are examples in the PCT showing formulations containing 75 php of palm oil and soy oil based NOPs in flexible foam formulations. This means in simple terms 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 characteristic odour of NOPs. The aldehydes and other odour-producing species present in NOPs normally give urethane foam materials their familiar burnt oil or french fries smell. By choosing, for example, the correct isocyanate and catalyst combination, these odour-causing materials present in the NOPs can be wrapped up and eliminated. The new NOP, therefore, does not carry its former odour into the finished foam. This is 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 formation of a wide range of stable, low-odour mixtures of NOPs and petrochemical polyols that can be stored for long periods of time. These will find use in the blending and production and sale of rigid and flexible green foams in the A & B Urethane “systems” market.