InterviewBayer MaterialScience sees huge China PU potential

25 May 2010 12:29  [Source: ICIS news]

By Alfred Wong

SHENZHEN, China (ICIS news)--Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) sees huge potential for the application of polyurethane (PU) foam in China's construction sector, Peter Vanacker, head of the company's PU business unit, said on Tuesday.

Of all new construction worldwide, 40% was taking place in China, he said, highlighting the huge potential for PU insulation.

"In more matured countries, the per capita usage of PU is 60kg [kilogrammes] and even higher, but it is only a couple of kg in China. The development is linked to the 12th five-year plan of China," he said.

Therefore the growth of PU was sustainable ecologically and economically, Vanacker said in an interview ahead of a major industry exhibition. BMS said it would highlight sustainable construction and lightweight mobility solutions at PU China 2010, on May 26-28 in Shenzhen.

"BMS is deeply committed to developing polyurethane solutions that enable us to meet the key challenges – or megatrends – of our modern world, facilitating ways in which we can all lead better lives, in China and around the world," said Vanacker.

Buildings are responsible for more than 40% of global energy use and one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Bayer estimates also indicate that for every kg of polyurethane used in construction, as much as 755kg of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions could be saved over the average lifespan of a building.

The company’s new 250,000 tonne/year toluene diisocyanate (TDI) facility in Shanghai was scheduled to go onstream by mid-2011. Utilised primarily in the manufacture of car seats, mattresses and upholstered furniture, the process technology employed in the TDI production would reduce energy consumption by up to 60%.

BMS was not planning to close any TDI facilities elsewhere to balance supply and demand after the start-up of the Shanghai plant, he said.

"Global demand on TDI is growing at 4% while Asia sees good demand especially China," he said.

"We were able to manage a positive growth on TDI in 2009 despite the financial turmoil," he said, adding that the first quarter in 2010 had seen a strong recovery.

Vanacker said he considered the supply glut presently existing in China to be a result of World Expo-related transport restriction and was only temporary.

He was likewise upbeat about the methylene di-p-phenylene (MDI) market, saying it would benefit from the movement to better insulation thanks to incentive plans.

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By: Alfred Wong
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