CO2 as a polymer component

The objective of the joint project is the development of a procedure for using carbon dioxide for developing polymers. The stabilisation of greenhouse gases achieved through this process prevents emissions and contributes to resource protection. Success in the project can primarily be seen in the development of catalyst systems for the synthesis of polycarbonate and polyurethane, as well as for the reaction of epoxides with CO2.


As a harmful greenhouse gas, CO2 is also responsible for climate change.  The stabilization of CO2 provides a possible solution for preventing emissions. Within the framework of the project, the suitability of CO2 is examined as a favourable raw material for developing polymer substances. The objective of the joint project is to utilise CO2 as a component for high-quality polymers and is thus related to the important challenges for climate and resource protection.
First, the development of new metal-organic catalyst systems were examined. These could be used for the synthesis of polycarbonate and polyurethane, as well as for the reaction of epoxides with CO2. The produced polymers were examined for their material properties. As a result, the possible areas of application were derived.  As a final step, the new polymer was examined  in comparison to conventional materials under climate and resource-friendly aspects.


  • The primary research of new catalyst concepts resulted in two interesting catalyst systems: homogenous zinc systems with different types of ligands and cobalt salen catalysts.
  • The suitable catalysts are homogenous systems which allow for higher activities than heterogeneous catalysts.
  • The examined catalyst systems show potential, however they must be further optimised.
  • Within the framework of the project, terpolymer could be successfully produced from propylene oxide, CO2 and other epoxides. However, they do not show the desired properties.
  • The CO2-polymer polypropylene carbonate (PPC) qualifies well as a blend component in combination with other biopolymers.
  • PPC demonstrated a good performance in early tests on sheets for carry bags and agro-sheets and is suitable for improving packaging systems.
  • The production of PCC is sustainable only within the framework of a continuous process.

More Project Information

Project title:
CO2 als Polymerbaustein

Project number: 01RC0902A-B

Project period: 2009 - 2012

Project region:
Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate)

Project contact::

Frau Dr. Brym
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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)