Cargill deepened its commitment to biobased polyols development this week by opening the BiOHTM Polyols Research & Development Center with a staff of scientists focused on developing new polyol products and commercial applications for biobased polyols. The 19,000-square-foot facility in Plymouth, Minn., includes a pilot production area to simulate customer production plants for testing of new products.
“We have built a world class R&D center to support the growth of a world class bio-based polyols business,” said Yusuf Wazirzada, business manager for biobased urethane polyols at Cargill. “This marks another milestone in our commitment to bring a more responsible choice to the polyurethane industry.”
Although initially launched in flexible foam for automotive, bedding and furniture, Cargill’s goal is to leverage the technology to replace petroleum-based polyols in a wide range of urethane applications, from rigid foams to elastomers. “This new facility will reduce the time it takes us to go from concept to trial and increase the likelihood of success,” said Ricardo De Genova, technical manager for the BiOH business and director of the new lab.
De Genova, who spent 21 years in polyurethanes at The Dow Chemical Company, calls the BiOH product line a “step change” in polyurethane innovation. “This is truly new, not just incremental change,” he said, “You can do things with this chemistry that you can’t do with petroleum. The potential is unlimited.” Derived from natural vegetable oils such as soybean oil, BiOH polyols can deliver unique performance benefits while helping customers reduce their environmental footprint and market themselves to downstream customers.
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Cargill, press release, 2007-08-07.