Leverkusen, Germany - Bayer MaterialScience has announced that it has gained Chinese government approval for construction of its long-planned 250 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) facility for making toluene diisocyanate (TDI) at its integrated production site in Caojing, Shanghai, China. This plant will be the first to commercially exploit the innovative gas-phase phosgenation process developed by BMS at a 30 ktpa TDI pilot plant in Dormagen, Germany.
The group, which gained initial government approval for a smaller TDI plant in Caojing, on the outskirts of the city, in 2000, said it is starting construction now and will commission the plant in 2010, raising its total TDI capacity globally to over 700 ktpa. BMS also said it plans to expand the new plant's capacity to 300 ktpa later.
"With construction work for this local TDI production plant beginning now, we are once again underlining our commitment to what is the biggest growth market in the world", said Patrick Thomas, BMS chairman, in a 21 Aug announcement.
Annual growth in global TDI consumption of four-percent annual is expected in the medium term, with forecasts for China's growth at twice that, said BMS. TDI is used to make flexible polyurethane foam, which is used in large quantities in upholstered furniture, mattresses and car seats.
According to BMS, gas-phase phosgenation reduces solvent use by around 80 percent in a production facility of this size, and so cuts energy use by up to 60 percent. Significant savings in operating costs and "a key contribution to climate protection," are the result, BMS said. Compared with conventional production facilities of similar size, annual carbon dioxide emissions can be cut by around 60 kpta.
The technology cuts investment for this such a facility by some 20 percent. "This enables us to further consolidate our leading position on the world market for polyurethanes with optimised cost structures," said Peter Vanacker, head of the Polyurethane Business Unit.
PIC: The BMS splitter for MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) at Caojing)