Midland, Michigan- Dow Polyurethanes is to add 130 million pounds -about 59 kilotonnes - of annual capacity for speciality mix polyols at its plant in Freeport, Texas. The added capacity is scheduled to come on stream in early 2009. Dow said it "will support growing demand for end-use polyurethanes products and polyurethane systems formulations in North America." "We're seeing solid growth in all aspects of our business, but are particularly encouraged by growing customer interest in our low-amine emissions Voranol Voractiv polyols, as well as customised systems formulations that offer specific performance benefits in key applications," said Doug Warner, business director for Dow Polyols, a business unit within Dow Polyurethanes. "The additional polyols capability Dow is investing in at our Freeport facility is further assurance for our North American customers that they can focus on innovating and growing in downstream markets while working with Dow as a reliable supplier they have come to depend on," Warner added, in a 10 Sept Dow statement. Polyols consumption in North America is estimated at 2900 million pounds, with an annual growth rate comparable to growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Growth is driven primarily by demand in automotive, coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE), specialty foams for the furniture and bedding industries as well as appliance applications, said the Dow statement. Dow Polyurethanes, part of the Dow Chemical Co., pointed out that it continues to strengthen its position as "a leading supplier of polyols and polyurethane products throughout North America." Earlier this year, Dow announced plans to expand MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) production in Freeport by 50 percent over the next three years. This expansion, due for completion in 2009, will add 250 million pounds of MDI name-plate capacity to Dow's facility, which came on stream in 2005.PIC: Doug Warner - "growing customer interest."