Covestro and Plama-pur: Cooperation to produce foam for sports shoes

Covestro has developed a technology that converts the exhaust gas CO2 into polyols for polyurethanes, replacing up to 20 % of fossil raw materials which are normally used. The precursor is marketed under the name cardyon and is suitable for many different applications. A current example is flexible foams from the Slovenian footwear supplier Plama-pur, which provide greater comfort in the inner padding of running, trekking and ski boots, especially in the ankle zone.

According to Covestro, the more sustainable raw material can already be used in many products and industries and enables similar or better properties than with fossil-based raw materials. New applications are consistently being developed. The CO2 technology has thus developed into a platform technology that contributes to resource conservation and circular economy and to reducing the ecological footprint, said the company.

These concept shoes contain CO₂: in a thin, transparent film on the toe of the shoe made of TPU. (Source: Covestro)

The foams are characterised by durability and high compression hardness – an important quality for athletic activities. Compared with products made of pure fossil raw materials, they have more favourable physical properties and, above all, better elasticity and a finer cell structure, said Covestro.

Plama-pur offers these products under the name Eco Foams. Its customers laminate the cut foam pieces onto self-adhesive materials and punch them out into various shapes according to the specifications.

The CO2-based precursor is also found in concept sneakers designed by Chinese shoe designer Axis Liu. More specifically, in a thin, translucent film made of the thermoplastic polyurethane Desmopan 37385A, which matches the colour and structure of the upper material. It is applied to the upper shoe by hot stamping and features good scratch and abrasion resistance. Covestro presented the sneakers at the K 2019 plastics trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany.

At the end of 2018, cardyon experienced another premiere in the sports sector: The material was used in the subfloor of the field hockey facility of a renowned sports club in Krefeld, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In this application, too, CO2 is used in a recycling process to save fossil raw materials.