The Environmental Protection Agency's 2007 Presidential Green Chemistry Award, which aims to promote innovative chemical technologies that reduce negative impacts on human health and the environment, will go to Cargill's BiOHT brand polyols, the first commercially successful biobased polyols used in polyurethane foam cushioning.
Derived from natural vegetable oils such as soybean oil, BiOH polyols help flexible polyurethane manufacturers reduce their environmental footprint and market their choice to downstream customers. Manufacturers are currently applying it to make flexible foam for bedding, furniture and automotive uses.
A preliminary life cycle analysis indicates that replacement of petroleum-based polyols with BiOH polyols results in 36 percent less global warming emissions, a 61-percent reduction in non-renewable energy use, and a 23-percent reduction in the total energy demand, Cargill says. The company says that for every million pounds of BiOH polyol produced to replace petroleum- based polyols, about 2,200 barrels (nearly 700,000 pounds) of crude oil are saved.