Bayer MaterialScience German TDI project on track for 2014

18 May 2011 18:39  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Bayer MaterialScience’s planned 300,000 tonne/year toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) project in Germany remains on track for start-up in 2014 amid a complex regulatory approval process, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

“We are on track and stick to our 2014 start-up timeline,” spokesman Ralf Guether told ICIS, but he added that much will depend on Germany’s project approval process.

Bayer MaterialScience, which announced the €150m ($214m) gas-phase phosgenation-based TDI project at Dormagen in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state in March 2010, filed for approval with regulators in Cologne last month, Guether said.

Following the project announcement last year, Bayer commissioned an environmental study, which will now be reviewed by regulators as part of the approval process, he said.

The project will, if realised, replace two existing Bayer TDI plants in Germany

In Brunsbuttel, Bayer plans to convert a 125,000 tonne/year TDI plant into a 220,000 tonne/year methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) facility, Guether said.

In Dormagen, the new project will replace an existing TDI plant and a pilot plant, with combined capacities of 90,000 tonnes/year, he said.

Guether also said that as part of its plans, Bayer would need a new carbon monoxide (CO) reformer at Dormagen to supply the TDI plant.

But even after start-up of the TDI project, Dormagen - with the new CO reformer - will continue to produce excess CO, he said.

As a result, Bayer's controversial pipeline project to ship CO from Dormagen to its production site in Krefeld-Uerdingen will still be required.

However, the TDI project is not directly dependent on Bayer getting start-up approval for the CO pipeline project, Guether said.

Guether also said Bayer does not see any changes in North Rhine-Westphalia’s regulatory environment after voters last year elected a Social Democrat-Green coalition government that ousted a pro-business Christian Democrats- Liberal government.

“The laws regarding approvals have not changed,” he added.

But he said Bayer is aware of the “public’s sensitivity” about such projects.

“We are working to explain our projects openly and honestly” to address concerns, he said.

As for its near-term plans, Bayer expects to start up its new 250,000 tonne/year TDI unit near Shanghai in the second half of the year, Guether said.

However, Bayer would initially run the facility, which is based on the new gas-phase phosgenation technology, at only half of capacity - producing about 60,000 tonnes in the second half of 2011 - before ramping up to full capacity next year, he said.

($1 = €0.70)

For more on Bayer MaterialScience and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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