Dormagen, Germany - Cologne has given Bayer MaterialScience a permit to build and operate a new 300 kilotonnes per annum capacity facility to make TDI (toluene diisocyanate) at its site in Dormagen.
TDI is a precursor in making flexible polyurethane foams to make products such as high-quality foams for mattresses, chairs and car seats.
The plant, which will use energy saving and lower investment gas-phase phosgenation technology, is a key part of a long-term investment strategy at BMS to turn the Dormagen site into a global technology centre for the development and production of polyurethanes, said the group.
"We are delighted that the approval process has been successfully completed and we can press ahead with our construction work as planned," said Dr Joachim Wolff, who runs the Polyurethanes Business Unit, in the company's 7 Jan announcement.
"This innovative high-tech process marks the start of safe and eco-friendly world-scale polyurethane production that makes the best possible use of energy and resources. Compared with a conventional plant with the same capacity, the new facility will reduce energy consumption by up to 60 percent and require as much as 80 percent less solvent. This will also give us a decisive competitive edge," Wolff added.
Construction is on schedule, with a key milestone in November when the 90.5 tonne distillation column - a cylindrical steel structure - arrived by truck. "If progress on site continues at this pace, there is nothing standing in the way of us completing and commissioning the plant midway through 2014," said Dr Steffen Kühling, who is head of production and technology in the Polyurethanes Business Unit.
BMS started training the employees for the new plant last spring: this includes 15 new employees who are working alongside staff at the current pilot plant and receiving intensive instruction.
PIC: Wolff (in brown) with a BMS team at the announcement of the permit to build the new 300 ktpa TDI plant.