“Innovation” in the 21st century can come from many industries and have a measurable impact on our way of life: social, environmental, economic or technological. But for American chemistry, innovation applies to “all of the above”: chemical companies are making real, tangible products that are helping to create a healthier, cleaner, stronger and more sustainable future.
The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) is no stranger to innovation. This week, CPI hosted its annual Polyurethanes Technical Conference, held in Dallas, where the newest products and innovations made with polyurethanes were on full display.
“The polyurethanes industry is built on more than 80 years of innovation,” said Lee Salamone, senior director of CPI, on the final day of the conference. The business of polyurethane is a $20 billion enterprise and a key element of the U.S. economy.
This year’s CPI conference featured 14 technical sessions and more than 60 technical presentations about the latest industry innovations and developments. Only one product, however, could take home the prestigious Polyurethane Innovation Award, which is selected by a panel of judges based on the product’s impact on the polyurethanes industry, uniqueness, the quality of the science and societal impact.
So, which product of polyurethane chemistry stole the show in 2014? TERAFORCE™ Technology, created by the Dow Chemical Company in partnership with Preferred Sands. The technology is a true collaborative innovation that expands the frontiers of polyurethane applications by improving oil productivity and the sustainability profile of the hydraulic fracturing process
“What an honor it is for Dow and our partner, Preferred Sands, to be recognized this way- especially considering the record number of entries CPI received this year,” said Chris Chrisafides, commercial director for Dow Polyurethanes in North America.
TERAFORCE™ Technology is an important element of the U.S. energy boom and manufacturing renaissance and can play an integral role in job creation. Preferred RCS™ Resin Coated Sand with Dow TERAFORCE™ Technology (the enabling polyurethane) saves energy during production of the resin-coated proppant through shorter production cycles and low temperature, and reduces hazardous risks associated with proppant flowback.
The technology also eliminates the need for an external activator, or additional chemicals, that competing technologies require to be injected into oil wells. The two companies continue to develop technologies for broader applications across energy markets, and ever-more efficient and sustainable oil and gas recovery.
Other finalists for the Innovation Award were BASF’s Infinergy™ particle foam for use in athletic footwear and Novomer Inc.’s environmentally conscious feedstock formulation, Converge®.
“BASF and Novomer presented incredible new uses of polyurethanes,” Salamone said. “It was a very close race, and all finalists did an outstanding job.”
More than 900 people attended the 2014 Polyurethanes Technical Conference, which featured 59 technical presentations, 57 Table Top exhibits, 33 poster presentations and eight Professional Development Program courses. You can read more about the conference at its official blog.