The new MDI plant, which Covestro said could be in either China or the US, was described as 'world-scale'. In January 2020, Covestro put its MDI-500 project in Baytown Texas on hold for 18-24 months, citing challenging market conditions.'
The company confirmed the plant would be built using the energy-efficient AdiP process introduced at its Brunsbuettel, Germany plant in 2020.
At the time the technology was announced, Covestro claimed that the pilot plant produces MDI with 40% less steam and 25% less electricity for each tonne of product than conventional routes. ‘Overall, 35% less CO2 is generated for each tonne of MDI produced on the pilot plant, and output is 50% greater than conventional processes,’ it said.
The company said it would spend about EUR800m on capex in 2021, but that this number will significantly increase, particularly in the years 2024 to 2026. The increase would be to fund the construction of the new MDI plant.
Away from the big-ticket items, the company will invest about EUR300m in additional capacity in its coatings & adhesives business by 2025, with a further EUR200m earmarked for speciality films.
Explaining the expenditure, CEO Markus Steilemann said: 'There is growing demand for sustainable solutions worldwide, and that offers us significant market potential. Our high-tech plastics already enable sustainable innovating in many industry. On our path to becoming fully circular, we are increasing our capital spending selectively and are enabling our customers to become more sustainable.’