Aniline Made from Biomaterials For First Time Ever – Turning Point for Key Foam and Insulation Chemical


In Germany, aniline, a chemical only attained from fossil fuels in the past, was produced from plant-based materials using a microorganism as a catalyst to convert sugar from feed corn, straw or wood, and chemical catalysis. Covestro, a materials manufacturer, successfully created the chemical in the lab and is partnering with others to bring it to scale in a pilot plant for industrial use. This is big news for the chemical industry which produces about five million metric tons of aniline each year globally and continues to increase at about 5% every year. Aniline is used as  starting chemical for many products, but is most known for its use in rigid polyurethane foam, often used in insulating material for buildings and refrigeration systems. Covestro sees this development as a key to relying less on fossil fuels and market fluctuations while improving their CO2 footprint.