Midland, Michigan-Dow Polyurethanes has announced that it plans to invest an unspecified amount to expand capacity at its polyols plant in Terneuzen, The Netherlands, by 180 kilotonnes per annum and at its propylene glycol (PG) facility in Stade, Germany, by 45 ktpa.
These moves follows Dow's September 2006 announcement that it plans to build a Dow/BASF hydrogen peroxide-to-propylene oxide (HPPO) facility at Antwerp, Belgium, scheduled for start-up in 2008.
Dow also completed a 40 ktpa expansion of its propylene oxide (PO) name-plate capacity at Stade in January of this year, bringing its total PO capacity at the plant to 630 ktpa. PO is a key raw material used in the production of both propylene glycol and polyols.
According to Dow Polyurethanes business vice president Pat Dawson, these investments are driven by strong customer demand for end products made using polyurethane and propylene glycol products in the region. They also support Dow's plans to further grow its performance businesses.
"Dow is committed to providing our customers with a reliable supply of PG and polyurethane raw materials, using the most economic and technologically advanced processes, as evidenced by our investment in the new HPPO facility at Antwerp," said Dawson, in a 26 March announcement.
The Dow polyurethanes manager commented that, "Demand for downstream products that rely on PG and polyols is expected to remain strong, and we are making these investments now to ensure that we continue to be the preferred supplier to our customers well into the future."
According to Dow, demand for polyols, used to make polyurethane systems and rigid and flexible foams, is healthy in Europ: it is expected to grow at 5 to 6 percent per year on average, driven by strong demand in the automotive, construction and home furnishing industries.
PG demand in Europe is growing at an average of 3 percent per year, said Dow, driven primarily by strong demand from end-use applications, including unsaturated polyester resins (UPR), food, feed, cosmetics, anti-freeze and aircraft deicing fluids. "