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Seeking Innovative Manufacturing Technologies to Enhance the Properties of Speciality Polymers

Background / Description

IPI is working with our Open Innovation partner from UK to source for new technologies to enhance the properties of speciality polymers. The client is an established European manufacturer of speciality polyols, glycols and polyolefin-based materials for use in technically demanding and often niche applications. Polyolefins are versatile plastics with good physical and chemical properties (e.g. lightweight, transparent, mechanical, flexibility and weather resistance), and as such, are used in a wide variety of industries. Polyols and glycols are intermediates used for the manufacture of materials such as polyurethane (e.g. for adhesive or foams).

The client’s materials are considered specialised grades (not commodity materials) and are often used in emerging markets and for new applications. However, these materials are now required to provide enhanced performance to justify their continuing use and increasingly require a simplified route to recycling and potential reuse.

The client therefore wishes to provide step-change functionality in the manufacture of specific polyols and polyolefin materials by simplifying the creation, manufacturing and end-of-life processing, and by introducing ways to differentiate their materials to provide enhanced material performance for their customers. This could include enabling use of these plastic materials in applications previously not covered (i.e. replacing wood / metal / concrete / glass).

Polymers of interest include:

  • Polyolefin-based materials, including the following:
    • Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and Ethylene butyl acrylate (EBA)
    • Polyethylene – high and low density (HDPE and LDPE/LLDPE)
    • Polypropylene (PP) copolymers
  • Polyol- / Glycol- based materials

Technical Specifications

The client is seeking the following to apply to the above polymers:

Material properties:

  • Fire retardancy (removing inorganic additives)
  • Biodegradability
  • Recyclability
  • Enhanced barrier properties (industrial and packaging)
  • Oleophobicity
  • Improved longevity of product (e.g. self-healing)

 

Technologies to:

  • Enable function with minimal additive use, e.g. modify inherent properties instead of relying solely on additives
  • Improve the end-of-life, recyclability and eventual reuse of the material, e.g. identification / tracking of material and source and enable a circular economy
  • Enable / improve chemical and mechanical recycling processes to allow separation of ink, contaminants, additives
  • Enable new applications, e.g. plastronics, renewables
  • Enable production of polyols with alternative raw materials

Preferred Business Model

  • R&D Collaboration
  • Licensing
  • IP Acquisition
  • Business Collaboration (Joint Venture, Distribution)
  • Others

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