Polyurethane Recycling: Conversion of Carbamates—Catalysis, Side-Reactions and Mole Balance

Shahab Zamani, Jean-Paul Lange, Sascha R.A. Kersten, M. Pilar Ruiz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
82 Downloads (Pure)


Diisocyanates, a key monomer in polyurethane, are generally lost during recycling. Polyurethane alcoholysis to carbamate and subsequent cracking to isocyanate represents a promising, phosgene-free recycling route. This work reports the thermal and catalytic cracking of a model carbamate (Methyl N-phenyl carbamate, MPC) to isocyanate (Phenyl isocyanate). Multiple catalysts (ZnO, Bi2O3, Al2O3, and Montmorillonite K-10) were evaluated in a closed system (batch autoclaves) to decompose MPC at temperatures of 160–200 °C, with a thorough analysis of the products and high (≥90%) mole balance. The thermal reaction was very limited at these temperatures, whereas the catalytic reaction led mainly to aniline and urea and seemed to be dominated by water adsorbed on the catalyst surface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4869
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • carbamates
  • isocyanates
  • polyurethanes
  • recycling


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