The HUF 197.85 million non-refundable grant for “Upcycling of closed-cell rigid polyurethane foams” was approved by the Ministry of Finance. We use large quantities of polyurethane-based foams to manufacture industrial clean room equipments, thus this research is of great importance to us.
The technical assistance and laboratory tests are provided by the Department of Polymer Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Budapest University of Technology. The project is scheduled to be completed till 31 January 2025.
About the research grant
Description of the challenge
We have recognized that the processing technology of polyurethane (PUR) foams results in a high waste accumulation. A major part of the waste accumulation is due to leftover material cut off during the production of polyurethane blocks. Based on our experience, this waste can reach 500 m3 per year in our plant.
The aim of the research
Our goal is to develop a new technology for the mechanical upcycling of closed-cell rigid cross-linked polyurethane foams by reusing foam scrap in our existing insulation manufacturing technology.
This would reduce or even eliminate the production waste stream of rigid polyurethane foams produced by our company or other market players in Hungary or even in the Central European region.
According to our preliminary research, several urethane prepolymers are proven to be primising binders, thus the crosslinking of these materials can be achieved at room temperature by adding water and a small amount of catalyst.
First, polyisocyanurate foam (PIR), a subtype of rigid polyurethane foam, and polyurethane foam (PUR) are subjected to a special grinding process, in a ratio of 70-30%. A special binder is added to the pellets when the right particle size is obtained. After these reactions, the polyurethane foam sheets can be re-produced.
The key benefit of the process over other currently used technologies is that it can recycle polyurethane foam without the use of heat, resulting in significant energy savings. To further enhance the environmental friendliness of the solution, the polyol in the prepolymer used in the process has been replaced by vegetable-based oil. The catalyst can be sourced from Hungarian manufacturers, thus strengthening economic cooperation among local companies.