Global demand for polyols made from agricultural crops such as soybeans is expected to reach 90,000 metric tons this year, up from 50,000 metric tons last year. Ford Motor Co., which did pioneering research on use of soy oils as a foam feedstock, is rapidly expanding its use of soy-based urethanes to multiple interior applications in multiple platforms. Furniture and bedding applications are also rapidly rising. One recent application is a product line named Equilibrio Natural Ecoflex that uses foam based on Dow’s Renuva Natural Oil Polyols in the comfort layers of the mattress. Dow uses soybeans and rapeseed oil as feedstocks. The flexible foam made by Metzeler Schaum GmbH, Germany uses a polyol derived from sunflower oil.
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