Recyclable foam offers polyurethane alternative

A recyclable, sugar-derived foam developed by scientists at the University of Minnesota could offer a renewable alternative to traditional polyurethanes. Until now, the disposal of non-degradable postconsumer polyurethane products “constitutes a massive waste management problem that has yet to be solved,” the researchers said.

According to the American Chemical Society, using a sugar-derived rubbery polyester compound called poly(fl-methyl-d-valerolactone), or PMVL, the scientists made flexible polyurethane foams that were comparable in performance to commercial analogs. To test whether the foams could be recycled, the team added a catalyst and then heated the materials to a high temperature. Through this process, the researchers recovered up to 97 percent of the starting fl-methyl-d-valerolactone (MVL) monomer in high purity. They then used what they recovered to re-make PMVL with essentially identical properties.

Synthesis of methylene malonates uses bio-derived feedstock

The first known synthesis and purification of a class of monomers using bio-based malonate esters at laboratory scale has occurred. Manufacturing technology company Sirrus synthesized its Chemilian 1,1 di-substituted alkenes using chemical manufacturer Lygos’ “bio-DEM.”

The Sirrus class of monomers presents a broad range of properties for various industries that the company believes may drive large volume demand for bio-derived malonate esters.

The companies plan to continue pilot scale testing that, if successful, could lead to the introduction of a renewable product introduction in 2017. Both have interest in replacing petrochemicals with green chemicals.

Chemical spill at Pennsylvania treatment plant contained

Hazardous materials specialists responded to a chemical spill at a water treatment plant in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

According to local newspaper the Bucks County Courier Times, the leak at the Tullytown plant involved a malfunctioning valve at the bottom of a 12,000-gallon tank, which contained 9,000 gallons of ferric chloride, a highly corrosive chemical solution that is used in sewage treatment and water purification. A county hazardous materials team contained and slowed the leak and the site was fully operational again by the afternoon of the incident.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) confirmed that local drinking water supply was not affected.