By David Reed, UT EditorLudwigshafen, Germany-BASF AG, Huntsman Polyurethanes, and Chinese partners are considering building another plant for making MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) in China, at one of several locations. A capacity of 400-kilotonnes-per-annum is projected, with start-up taking place "from 2010 onwards," a 25 Jan. statement from BASF said.The Chinese companies involved are Shanghai Hua Yi Group Company, Sinopec Shanghai Gao Qiao Petrochemical Corp. and Shanghai Chloro-Alkali Chemical Co., Ltd, the statement added.The announcement comes even before the paint is dry on the steelwork of the same firms' major plants for making isocyanates at the Caojing Industrial Park near Shanghai, People's Republic of China. These plants are set to come on stream by mid-year, adding 240 ktpa of crude MDI, and 160 ktpa of TDI (toluene diisocyanate).The key fact behind the announcement is projected high growth in use of the key polyurethane raw material."The market for polyurethanes in China is expected to grow at a double-digit rate, and will become the largest in the world within the next decade," said Jean-Pierre Dhanis, president of BASF's Polyurethanes division, in the announcement. "We want to participate in this dynamic growth, and better serve our customers through local production," he added.A recent report from IAL Consultants also reported double-digit growth in China, but suggested that growth rates there are likely to moderate in the 2004-2009 period, perhaps averaging 7-8 percent a year. Even so, by 2009, IAL says the total PU use in China will approach 4 million tonnes (Polyurethane Chemicals and Products in China, 2nd Edition, costs €5950 (over $7000) from IAL Consultants, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 88 32 77 80; Fax: +44 (0) 20 85 66 49 31; Email: [email protected], or visit IAL's website: www.ialconsultants.com."