Palm Oil Engineering Bulletin No.141 (Sept - Dec 2022) p25-37
Integrated Polyol Production Using Different Types of Diols
Zailan Abu Bakar*; Zulina Abd. Maurad*; Haliza Abdul Aziz* and Tuan Noor Maznee Tuan Ismail*

Polyols are one of the raw materials used in polyurethane manufacturing which consist of more than one hydroxly group. Most of the commercially available polyols are petroleum-based. Natural oil-based polyols (NOPs) have gained interest in the market as an alternative to petrochemical-based polyols with the advantages of being environmental-friendly and sustainable. Research on palm-based polyol as one of the NOPs started in Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) in the 1990’s, and since then, several types of polyols have been produced via a batch pilot plant. However, the batch process’s drawback was the lengthy total production time, between 14.0 and 22.0 hr for epoxidation and between 16.0 and 38.5 hr for alcoholysis. An integrated semi-continuous process was proposed and further studied to improve the production process and the applications of different diols used as hydroxyl donors. The design of the integrated system is important for the economic feasibility of the polyol production. The integrated semi-continuous process of palm-based polyol production has significantly reduced the production time to 13.0 hr for epoxidation and 12.0 to 13.5 hr for alcoholysis. With different types of diols used, namely, ethylene glycol, 1,3-propanediol and 1,4-butanediol, a wider range of applications of biobased polyurethane products could be provided for various industries.

Author information:
*Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.