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

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Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: John Richardson
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