By Liz White, UT editor
Antwerp, Belgium-More polyol capacity for the polyurethanes sector gets a little closer as a partnership between BASF Aktiengesellschaft and Dow Chemical Co. start construction today (27 Sept) of a 300 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) propylene oxide (PO) plant at BASF's site in Antwerp. The plant, which will use the innovative HPPO (hydrogen peroxide to PO) technology, is scheduled for start up early in 2008, an announcement from BASF said.
The plant uses new technology developed jointly by BASF and Dow to make PO, a core ingredient for the $21 000-million-a-year polyurethane industry. Solvay SA will be a key partner in supply of hydrogen peroxide to the facility.
HPPO technology offers various benefits over conventional routes to PO, including better economics, environmental improvements and flexibility for locating new plants, BASF's statement said.
Hydrogen peroxide for the plant will be made at a second new 230 ktpa plant at the Antwerp site, being constructed by Solvay, BASF and Dow.
Belgium prime minister Guy Verhofstadt joined Dow's chairman and chief executive, Andrew Liveris, Solvay's chairman, Christian Jourquin, and BASF's chairman Dr Jürgen Hambrecht, at the project's official groundbreaking ceremony.
"HPPO is an exciting technology that supports Dow's focus on sustainability through greater energy efficiency, reduced physical footprint and improved environmental performance, while at the same time, providing attractive economics," said Dow's Liveris.
"Through innovation and our partnership with BASF, this HPPO technology expedites our drive for sustainability." BASF's Hambrecht said, adding that the plant will "further strengthen our successful polyurethanes business."
Dow and BASF said they are considering the development of additional HPPO projects in other regions, including Asia. BASF also plans to utilize the HPPO technology with a project at its Geismar, Louisiana, site in the US.