Dow Inc. will build a new unit making polyurethanes feedstock MDI in Texas, while closing its PU assets elsewhere in the state.
In a June 9 news release, officials with Dow in Midland, Mich., said that the firm plans to build an integrated MDI distillation and prepolymers facility at its major manufacturing complex in Freeport. They added that the investment supports increasing demand for downstream PU systems products and advances Dow's positions in construction, consumer, and industrial markets that officials said are growing above GDP.
The new Freeport MDI facility will replace Dow's current North America capacity in La Porte. With the start-up of the new MDI facility in 2023, Dow will shut down its PU assets in La Porte. The new MDI production will increase capacity by 30 percent.
The investment "optimizes our existing asset infrastructure and enhances our global polyurethanes leadership position, further enabling us to support downstream systems customers' growth," Industrial Intermediates & Infrastructure President Jane Palmieri said in the release.
She added that back integration at the Freeport site creates a cost competitive supply of key upstream PU raw materials and ensures a reliable supply position.
The new MDI facility in Freeport will reduce Dow's carbon footprint and water usage by eliminating the need for the generation of thermal power by utilizing existing thermal energy from the Freeport site, officials said. The new MDI location also will reduce water intake and wastewater discharge and eliminate the need for transport of raw materials, they added.
Dow ranks as one of the world's largest producers of plastics and chemicals. The firm employs almost 36,000 worldwide and posted sales of $38.5 billion in 2020.