Plastic packaging industry, promising prospects for carbon dioxide plastic technology

Environmental friendly materials refer to the materials with the least environmental load in the processes of raw material collection, product manufacturing, use or recycling, and waste treatment, with low resource and energy consumption, low pollution to the environment and environment, and high recycling efficiency. . At present, the domestic and international biodegradable plastic raw materials with innovative advantages in the R&D field, carbon dioxide-based polymers, are environmentally-friendly plastic raw materials worthy of attention by the petrochemical industry.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and many people have a negative impression of it. It is a gas released from the combustion of oil and natural gas, which is both the “culprit” of the environmental greenhouse effect and a potential carbon resource. Given the potential threat posed by greenhouse gas emissions, most countries around the world have joined the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (especially carbon dioxide). The recycling of carbon dioxide has become the current hot spot.

Ordinary plastic raw materials, such as polyethylene, polypropylene and other polymers are polymerized with hydrocarbon as a monomer, and carbon dioxide-based polymers are produced with hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide as raw materials. Carbon dioxide content is 31%~50%. Compared with conventional polymers, the consumption of petroleum for hydrocarbons and upstream raw materials is greatly reduced. Carbon dioxide-based polymers can not only reduce the consumption of petroleum, but also have good environmental adaptability.

Carbon dioxide degradable plastics are completely biodegradable plastics that can be completely degraded in the natural environment. They can be used in disposable packaging materials, cutlery, fresh-keeping materials, disposable medical materials, and plastic film. Carbon dioxide degradable plastics, as environmental protection products and high-tech products, are becoming the focus of research and development in the world today. Degradable plastics produced using this technology not only make carbon dioxide as an environmentally friendly degradable plastic, but also avoid the secondary pollution of traditional plastic products to the environment. Its development not only expanded the function of plastics, but also supplemented the increasingly depleted oil resources to some extent. Therefore, the production and application of carbon dioxide degradable plastics are of great significance both from the perspective of environmental protection and from the perspective of resource recycling and utilization.

Companies in the United States, Japan, Germany, and China have conducted a lot of research and development in the field of carbon dioxide-based polymers.

United States

In early August 2010, the United States Novomer Corporation received US$18.4 million in funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE), which will accelerate the commercialization of the company’s carbon dioxide plastics production line. Novomer's technology uses carbon dioxide and propylene oxide to produce polypropylene carbonate (PPC) resin. PPC resins can be used in coatings, surfactants, flexible packaging and hard packaging, as well as fibers, etc., and can be biodegraded.

Novomer has already carried out small-scale production of carbon dioxide-based plastics in production facilities of its partner Eastman Kodak. It is said that the use of carbon dioxide to produce low-molecular-weight thermosetting polyols for coatings and adhesives is expected to be commercialized in 2011, and high-molecular-weight thermoplastic polymers are expected to be commercialized in 2012.


Chinese companies have become the world leader in carbon dioxide and plastics. Jiangsu Zhongke Jinlong Chemicals Co., Ltd. formed a carbon dioxide resin production capacity of 22,000 tons/year as early as in 2007 (one 2000 tons/year and one 20000 tons/year production line). This project adopts the Guangzhou Institute of Chemical Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. In the company, Jinlong has developed CO2 resin applications in coatings, insulation materials, and films. Zhongke Golden Dragon plans to achieve a capacity of 100,000 tons/year of carbon dioxide resin by 2015.


Japanese researchers have recently developed a new technology that will allow carbon dioxide to be converted into carbon resources used to synthesize plastics and drugs, thus turning it into a “harm”. The chemical properties of carbon dioxide are very stable and it is not easy to react with other substances. Therefore, it is only used for the production of urea and polycarbonate in the industrial field. Professor Yoshihide Iwasawa of Tokyo Institute of Technology discovered that carbon compounds can be combined with carbon dioxide after treatment to form new carbon materials. Related papers have been published in the new issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


Bayer MaterialScience AG and two partners have received funding from the German government to jointly develop methods for the production of polyurethane based on carbon dioxide feedstock. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research will invest more than 4.5 million euros in this project over the next three years. The purpose of the research is to use carbon dioxide waste products to produce polyether polyol polycarbonate (PPP).

RWE Power International, Germany's largest power company, and Aachen University of Technology in Aachen, Germany, will also participate in the project initiated by Bayer MaterialScience, based in Leverkusen, Germany. In addition, a pilot plant using the above new process will be built in Leverkusen.

The carbon dioxide used in this process will come from the RWE Power company's Niederaussem plant in Germany. A CO2 scrubber is installed in a coal innovation center at the plant. The PPP material produced by this process can be used in building insulation and light automotive components.

Three problems encountered in the industrialization of carbon dioxide degradable plastics

As one of the directions for chemical methods to fix carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide-based plastics are of great significance for achieving carbon capture, storage, and utilization. On the one hand, carbon dioxide-based plastics can replace traditional plastics in many areas, thereby reducing carbon emissions from the production of traditional plastics. On the other hand, the production of one ton of resin consumes about 0.4-0.5 tons of carbon dioxide, which also reflects the use of carbon dioxide resources. The economic value. Similar to CO2-EOR, carbon dioxide-based plastics can bring benefits to companies while reducing CO2 emissions.

According to industry sources, although China has made breakthroughs in the field of carbon dioxide and plastics, due to various reasons, the current slow progress in the domestic carbon dioxide degradable plastics industry, and the use of related technologies, only CNOOC and other "high-end players" have "played" From".

First, the cost pressure is too great. At present, there are mainly four kinds of carbon dioxide degradable plastic technologies that have been successfully developed in China. Of these four technologies, three are industrialized. Due to the small scale of these projects, they can currently only be produced in small batches, with low output and high prices. In addition, the price of one of the main raw materials for the project, propylene oxide and epichlorohydrin, is also very high, coupled with expensive new product promotion costs, resulting in the final cost of carbon dioxide degradable plastics up to 18,000 yuan / ton. With the price of petroleum-based plastics falling with the price of oil, the cost pressure for carbon dioxide-degrading plastics companies is increasing.

The second is the risk of investment. “As far as unit product investment is concerned, the investment in carbon dioxide degradable plastic projects is higher than that of coal-based oil. A 10,000-ton/year carbon dioxide degradable plastic project often requires more than 140 million yuan in capital investment. The investment risk of the project is great,” said Lu Bin, project manager of Guangzhou Tiancheng Biodegradable Materials Co., Ltd. The heads of China National Petroleum Corporation and Inner Mongolia Mengxi Hi-tech Group also admitted that if we do not calculate energy-saving emission reduction and environmental protection benefits, the CO2 degradable plastic project will not make money or even lose money.

Third, the demand is small and sales are difficult. According to reports, the price of carbon dioxide degradable plastics is always 1.5 to 2 times higher than that of petroleum-based plastics. In addition, its thermal stability, barrier properties, and processability are inconsistent with petroleum-based plastics, which limits its use in only a few areas where there are special requirements such as food packaging, medical care, etc., and cannot be used in films with large demand, agricultural film, etc. Domain promotion and application. Not only that, even in the limited food packaging, medical and health areas, it faces the impact and competition of degradable plastics such as polylactic acid, polyvinyl alcohol, and polybutylene succinate, making the consumer market for carbon dioxide degradable plastics very narrow. Sales are difficult.

The full-degradable plastic technology for carbon dioxide synthesis is one of the important hotspots in the world. At present, most of the plastic products on the market are made of petroleum as raw materials, which have high costs and are not easy to degrade and pollute the environment after use. After using this technology, CO2 waste gas can be recovered instead of oil, and full-degradable plastic products can be directly produced. On the one hand, this technology can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save petroleum resources. On the other hand, synthetic plastics can be completely biodegradable and can fundamentally solve the "white pollution" hazard. It is a typical circular economy technology model.

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