Leverkusen, Gemany - Bayer AG has sold a licence to Dow Chemical Co. for production of polyether polyols using Bayer's patented Impact technology. The companies did not reveal financial terms of the license.
According to Bayer, the technology incorporates an advantageous process for polyoxyalkylation, using a special Double Metal Cyanide (DMC) as a catalyst.
"This technology enhances the consistency of polyether polyols and provides waste reduction advantages in the manufacturing process," said the Bayer/Dow joint announcement of 27 Nov.
The technology allows Dow to use a continuous process to produce long-chain polyether polyols - the base products for flexible polyurethane slabstock foams.
According to Dow, it is evaluating a world-scale production facility based on this technology, intended to start up in 2010. But the group expects to have pre-marketing volumes of these products available before then.
Dow expects to expand its use of Impact as conversion of production units allows. The company said it will ensure a smooth integration of the new products into the existing portfolio in close cooperation with its customers.
Bayer is highly enthusiastic about the Impact technology. At a meeting in Dormagen earlier this year, BMS chairman Patrick Thomas pointed out that both Shell and BASF are also committed to using it in order to offer long chain polyether polyols to the slabstock market. Thomas also stressed BMS's target of licensing this technology at the Dormagen meeting.
Impact catalysis "significantly reduces the complexity" of the process and has "turned a multi-stage, semi-batch process into one continuous process," with a catalyst that is around 1000 times more active than in the KOH technology, said Thomas.
"We have not only raised the reactor output - or productivity - six-fold, we have also managed to lower the total conversion costs," he added.
BMS has made this possible by eliminating a complex solvent-refining stage and avoiding production waste. The result, said Thomas, is a process which significantly cuts energy usage, gives better product consistency and at the same time increases polyol throughput.
In five years, BMS has been able to convert half its potential processes to the new route, as a result of commitment to process innovation, Thomas said. He gave figures showing that BMS has some 23 percent of world capacity for polyether polyols, with capacity in 2006 as 1150 kt.