Chlorine to outgrow caustic soda demand, says Tecnon OrbiChem

23 June 2011 12:34  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Chlorine demand is expected to outgrow caustic soda demand as consumption in chlorine derivatives is expected to increase, an industry analyst said on Thursday.

Caustic soda demand is currently ahead of demand for chlorine but this is expected to reverse in the foreseeable future, said Janet Wright, chlor-alkali business manager at UK-based consulting firm Tecnon OrbiChem, in a presentation at the 15th World Chlor-alkali Conference (23/24 June), organised by ICIS and Tecnon OrbiChem, held in Singapore.

“There are many derivatives of chlorine such as perchloroethylene (perc), hydrochloric acid (HCI) synthesis and in the phosgene areas such as methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) that are showing good growth rates,” said Wright.

Perc demand as a feedstock for chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free refrigerants has been increasing, especially in China. Global perc exports have quadrupled in the last few months, she also said.

Wright went onto say that a new perc plant is planned for China.

In the phosgene area, growth of MDI and TDI are especially strong in Europe. Wright said that BASF’s plans to build the world’s largest single-train TDI plant in Europe, with a nameplate capacity of 300,000 tonnes/year.

Most MDI and TDI are consumed in the manufacture of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams used primarily for insulation in construction, refrigeration and packaging applications.

Phosgenes occupied 9% of global chlorine consumption for 2010 while HCI synthesis accounted for 12%, said to Tecnon. Vinyls remain the largest chlorine application, accounting for 39% of total consumption for that year.

The global recession has slowed the demand for chlorine in the vinyls chain, especially in the US. However, the chain is set to grow at high rates in many regions, including China, South America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said Wright.

For more on chlorine, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Doris de Guzman
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