The Woodlands, Texas - Huntsman Corp. is looking at adding a 400 kilotonnes per annum plant for MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) at its facility at Rozenburg, the Netherlands. The US group revealed that its final plan may also include "closure of older, less efficient capacity in Europe."
The group - currently involved in a long-running merger deal with Hexion Specialty Chemicals - announced 25 Feb that it has started design and feasibility studies to increase its global capacity for the manufacture of MDI through investment in a new world-scale plant at its site in Rozenburg, the Netherlands.
Huntsman's MDI facilities already include a 430 ktpa plant in Rozenburg, started up in 1997 as a 160 ktpa unit and gradually expanded. Its other facilities globally are in Geismar Lousiana (450 ktpa) and Caojing, China (240 ktpa, split 50:50 with BASF).
Feasibility studies for the new Rozenburg plant, including preliminary engineering, are now under way. A final decision is expected during 2008, with the new capacity coming on-stream by mid-2011, said Huntsman.
At the same time, Huntsman said, it intends to expand its MDI and downstream asset capacity in all three major regions using "new proprietary technologies in aniline, methylene dianiline (MDA) and MDI production." According to the group, these advances will "increase raw material yields and improve energy efficiency by up to 40 percent," compared with former technology.
Huntsman said in early 2006 that it was evaluating building a second MDI unit in China with its partners from the existing joint-venture MDI plant in Caojing. This evaluation continues, pointed out the polyurethanes and materials group, and the partners are considering a number of locations.
"These investments are required to satisfy the sustained demand growth that we're seeing across a wide range of MDI-based applications, said Polyurethanes Division president, Tony Hankins, in a company statement.
Huntsman foresees global MDI growth over the next decade continuing to grow at rates well ahead of global GDP growth, at around 7-8 percent per year, with growth in Asia at well above 10 percent annually. "We are determined to maintain our leading position in MDI, and to ensure that we can continue to support our global customers as their markets grow," Hankins concluded.
PIC: Huntsman's Hankins - Determined to maintain lead in MDI.