Leverkusen, Germany-Bayer MaterialScience AG announced 6 Feb that it intends to boost the annual capacity of the toluene diisocyanate (TDI) plant it is planning to build in Shanghai to 300 kilotonnes from the previously announced 160 kt.
As indicated by new BMS chairman Patrick Thomas in a recent interview in Urethanes Technology (UT Dec 2006/Jan 2007 p30), the innovative TDI process technology being used commercially for the first time in China allows investment and energy costs to be "dramatically reduced."
Bayer has already initiated approval local procedures for expanding capacity.
"Our new world-scale plant is designed to supply customers in the region's growth markets in the long term and is scheduled to be ready in 2009 as planned," said Thomas, in the 6 Feb statement.
Consumption of TDI will grow by around 4 percent a year, driven mainly by continued strong demand for upholstered furniture, mattresses and car seats, said Bayer.
BMS said it plans to use part of the TDI capacity from Shanghai to supply the fast-growing markets in eastern Europe and the Middle East, "until new capacities are in place," although it did not specify what capacities it was referring to.
The new gas-phase phosgenation technology for TDI manufacturing should cut investment costs by some 20 percent compared with conventional processes. It "sets new standards in safety and contributes to a significant reduction in the use of solvents," explained Peter Vanacker, head of the BMS Polyurethanes Business Unit.
PIC: Werner Wenning, Bayer chairman (right), with Thomas. "This expansion reinforces our commitment to one of the world's most important growth regions," said Wenning."