As feedstock flexibility and mass balance become an increasingly common approach to producing materials derived from bio-based or recycled waste resources, the number of new solutions available on the market based on this principle is growing explosively.
Today, Dow has announced the launch of two product ranges targeted at the automotive sector and created using this mass-balance approach. The new polyurethane solutions are based on a circular feedstock sourced from a waste product of the mobility sector that replaces virgin fossil-fuel based feedstock. Introduced under the brand names Specflex C and Voranol C, the products will initially be offered to the mobility sector through two automotive suppliers, Adient and Autoneum.
The offerings have been developed to help automotive OEMs meet their market and regulatory demands for more circular products and reach their sustainability goals. The mass balance approach makes this possible by tracing the flow of materials through the value chain. The amount and sustainability characteristics of circular and/or bio-based content is carefully tracked so that, when blended with other feedstocks, it can be attributed the final product based on verifiable bookkeeping. An often-cited advantage of the mass balance approach is that it creates the possibility of making the transition to the use of alternative materials a more gradual one.
“The automotive industry is undergoing significant change. This is being driven by market demand, the industry’s own ambition, and higher regulatory standards for reduced emissions and waste. The EU’s End-of-Life Directive is just one example of this,” said Dr. Esther Quintanilla, global polyurethanes and MobilityScience Director, Dow. “We have listened to the industry and are convinced that the mass-balance approach is a very efficient and validated way for automotive OEMs to meet regulatory standards and reach their own ambitious goals.”
Mass balance is third-party certified by an independent mass-balance certification agency who will validate that the quantity of polyurethane intermediates produced from recycled materials corresponds to the appropriate quantity of end-product, thereby confirming the reporting is accurate and auditable.
Specflex C will enable a wide range of flexible foam systems commonly used for comfort and acoustic purposes in interior, exterior and powertrain solutions in consumer and transportation applications. Voranol C will enable the production of a wide range of low- to high-density foams with low viscosity that provides easier handling and the flexibility to choose the optimum loading level for any application.
Adient, a market leader for seating in the automotive sector, and Autoneum, the leading acoustics and thermal management supplier, are partnering with Dow to pioneer the use of the two new product ranges.