InterviewBMS to use gas-phase technology for China TDI line

23 June 2010 07:16  [Source: ICIS news]

By John Richardson

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) is employing its breakthrough gas-phase phosgenation technology at its new toluene diisocyanate (TDI) plant at Caojing in China, the company’s CEO, Patrick Thomas, said on Wednesday.

“Gas-phase phosgenation has been the Holy Grail of the polyurethane industry for a long time and this technology has taken us 15-20 years to develop,” Thomas told ICIS in an interview.

“The technology reduces energy consumption by 60% and capital costs by 20-30% compared with conventional processes,” he added.

The new technology enables solvents to be used in gas-phase, whereas in conventional technology, solvents have to be constantly vaporized and condensed, resulting in the higher energy costs, Thomas said.

The 250,000 tonne/year TDI plant at Caojing would be brought on-stream at the end of the first quarter to mid-2011, he added.

The gas-phase technology is also part of a restructuring of the German major’s European isocyanates assets, said Thomas.

At the moment BMS produces both TDI and methylene di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) at Dormagen and Brunsbuttel in Germany, he added.

“We plan to upgrade our TDI production at Dormagen to gas-phase and produce only MDI at Brunsbuttel, whereas at the moment we produce both TDI and MDI at the site," he said.

Demolition work has begun on a 190,000 tonne/year TDI plant at Dormagen which would be replaced by a 250,000 tonne/year gas-phase phosgenation facility – a replica of the plant being built in China, Thomas said.

The new Dormagen is due to start-up in 2014, he added.

The Brunsbuttel restructuring involves closing down a TDI plant and raising the site’s MDI capacity – currently 160,000 tonnes/year, Thomas said.

The first phase would involve raising capacity to 320,000 tonnes/year with the eventual aim of reaching 600,000 tonnes/year, he added.

The timing of the Brunsbuttel expansions would depend on the market, said Thomas

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections


By: John Richardson
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