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Live from CPI: Who had the year’s top innovation?

2 min read


I attended — and tweeted from — the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry’s Technical Conference in Nashville, Tenn. One of the highlights of the annual event is the presentation of the Polyurethane Innovation Award, which helped close the conference Wednesday. Of 14 entrants, three finalists emerged, with Albemarle winning.

Polyurethane is by nature a flexible polymer, so a steady stream of products and innovative uses might not surprise. What CPI tries to do at its annual Technical Conference, however, is determine which innovation presents the most significant and original benefits. Conference attendees vote among three finalists during the conference’s opening session, with the award presented at the closing session.

This year, the finalists for the Polyurethane Innovation Award — Dow Chemical, Cannon and Albemarle — presented different ways of improving existing products and applications, with varying benefits in production, performance, efficiency and environmental impact. A bit more about each, and what benefits you might see in everyday life:

  • Albemarle’s ETHACURE 90 for color-stable coating systems: This aliphatic amine technology touts its performance against aromatic coating systems in the areas of weathering, abrasion and moisture-barrier protection. Consumers have already seen this technology on Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers” as a coating on vehicles, while amusement parks have found uses n concrete coating and as decorative coasting for rides, the company said during its conference presentation.
  • Cannon’s vacuum-assisted injection technology: This technology offers increased productivity, foam distribution and energy efficiency, Cannon said. Much like for Dow’s PASCAL technology, the consumer benefit is touted by Cannon as higher-quality appliances while minding costs.
  • Dow Italy’s PASCAL polyurethane foam technology: The technology allows for faster polyurethane reactivity, shorter gel time, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and greater energy efficiency for applications in refrigerators, according to a Dow presentation. For the consumer, Dow said, this means better insulated refrigerators and freezers without sacrificing cost.