Concentrol has been in contact with the polyurethane sector for more than 40 years. Initially with the manufacture of release agents for polyurethane foams (for the automotive, furniture, mattresses, etc. sectors) and since 2000, with silicone stabilizers, additives that are used in almost any type of foam.

In recent years, polyurethane foam manufacturers have been adapting their products to customer requirements, as well as updating and adapting to regulatory changes (mainly regarding hazardous components in foams). At Concentrol we closely follow the technical developments in the sector, and we are committed to continuous innovation in this range in order to offer the best solutions adapted to the new market requirements in terms of sustainability and results.

In recent years we have detected different market demands and trends, two of which are clearly repeated and have been catalysts for important changes in polyurethane formulations, and are still being studied for further improvements:

  1. Reduction of volatile emissions (VOC) and odors.
  2. Minimization, substitution and elimination of petroleum-based materials. In particular, polyols used in the production of polyurethane foams.

In relation to the first point, Concentrol has been working on the design of new stabilizers with low emissions and with a very low contribution to odor in the final foam[i][ii]. These studies and the resulting product improvements have been applied to the product range for the flexible molded polyurethane sector, mainly for the manufacture of foams for car seats.

There is a demand in the conventional flexible polyurethane sector (mainly manufacturers of foams for mattresses and furniture) for a reduction of VOC emissions and chemical odors.

These volatile components are molecules with varying levels of toxicity, and regulators are constantly limiting the maximum residual amounts in consumer products. An example is the recent decision to include the volatile cyclic components of silicone in the list of SVHC substances[iii].

These demands are not yet as settled as in the automotive sector, but they are gradually becoming a trend and a market need. We have identified this need as a priority research area, which is not technically solved at the moment by any manufacturer and which poses an interesting technical challenge. Its resolution, with the creation of a range of suitable products, is therefore the first objective of the project.

With regard to the second point, in recent years, formulations have been introduced in which part of the polyether polyol component (with monomers from petroleum) has been replaced by polyester-type polyols, or by polyether polyols from the CO₂ reaction. [iv][v] This line of research is still at a very preliminary stage, but it opens up a very interesting research window by reducing the amount of CO₂ in the atmosphere (carbon fixation) and, on the other hand, avoiding the use of petroleum in obtaining polyols and, therefore, in obtaining polyurethane foams. Using these new polyols in the formulation of polyurethane foams may require the adaptation of silicone surfactants. It is therefore necessary to adjust the ratio of ethylene oxide and propylene oxide monomers (or others that can be identified as suitable), as well as the terminal group of these polyethers, in order to obtain new silicone stabilizers with suitable properties for use in these new polyurethane systems. 

These are the objectives of the research project that Concentrol is carrying out in collaboration with CDTI (Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology). Currently, Concentrol manufactures a variety of products based on the chemistry of silicones. These products are classified into two large families, polyurethane stabilizers (CONCENTROL STB PU range, ) and silicone wetting agents (ORDISOL SWT range,

Concentrol is currently the only manufacturer of these products in Southern Europe.


[i] J. Nadal, A. López, PU Magazine, 2020, Vol. 17, No 3, June/July 2020

[ii] J. Nadal, A. López, PU Magazine 2018, Vol. 15, No 1, February/March 2018



[v] Iribarren, Diego & Dufour, Javier & Garate, Belén & Bustamante, Jorge & García, Elena & García Ruiz, Mónica. (2016). Carbon dioxide capture and utilisation in Repsol: a life cycle assessment of polycarbonate polyols.