Novomer Inc.'s (Ithaca, N.Y.) work with Albemarle Corp. (Baton Rouge, LA) and Eastman Kodak Co. (Rochester, NY), to develop a process that converts waste carbon dioxide into polycarbonate (PC) for use in packaging was one of six projects to be awarded additional funding from the U.S. federal government on July 22. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the selection of six projects that will convert captured CO2 emissions from industrial sources into everything from fuel and the aforementioned plastics to cement and fertilizers. The projects were funded with $106 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and matched with an addition $156 million in private cost-share. In a press conference, Chu called the announcement part of his agency's "broad commitment to unleash the American innovation machine" on the creation of a clean energy economy.
Novomer's catalyst technology, which originated out of research at Cornell University, enables CO2 to react with petrochemical epoxides to create thermoplastics that are up to 50% by weight CO2. The project, which received $18,417,989 in federal funding, aims to convert CO2 from an industrial waste stream into materials for applications like bottles, films, laminates, and coatings, as well as other wood and metal surface applications. Novomer has secured site commitments in Rochester, NY; Baton Rouge, LA; Orangeburg, SC; and Ithaca, NY where Phase 2 work will be performed.
The projects that were named were initially selected for a first phase of funding in October 2009 as part of a $1.4 billion effort to capture CO2 from industrial sources for storage or beneficial use. In the intervening months, the project teams have undertaken experiments and produced preliminary designs for pilot plants to study the feasibility of capturing and using CO2 exhausted from industrial processes. These selected projects will now enter a second phase aimed at starting pilot-scale work and evaluating the technical and economic feasibility of commercial application. —[email protected]