Dormagen - Bayer MaterialScience plans to invest roughly EUR 150 million in a new high-tech production plant for TDI (toluene diisocyanate) at Chempark Dormagen. TDI is a precursor for the production of polyurethane flexible foam. The new plant will have a capacity of 300,000 tons per year and will replace the existing plants in Dormagen and Brunsbüttel. The background behind the project is the company's European-wide optimization of isocyanate production. "This investment is a clear commitment to North Rhine-Westphalia as an industrial location. It is intended to strengthen Dormagen as a global TDI technology center and to provide long-term security for the competitiveness of Chempark Dormagen and the jobs at the plant and in the region," declares Dr. Tony Van Osselaer, member of the Bayer MaterialScience Board of Management.
The innovative and patented TDI process technology to be used in the planned facility sets new standards worldwide for efficient and climate-friendly TDI production. "The expertise that flowed into our TDI process innovation originated in Dormagen, which is a source of great pride to us here," says Dieter Kuhne, Head of TDI Production in Dormagen. "Our process enables us to achieve energy savings of up to 60 percent compared with a conventional plant of the same size. Furthermore, the technology requires up to 80 percent less solvent. These factors contribute to a significantly better energy and environmental balance," adds Kuhne.
Start of the approval process Bayer MaterialScience first presented plans to erect a new TDI production plant in Dormagen in December 2008. The second phase of the project is scheduled to begin in April 2010 with the "scoping" hearing, to which the Cologne regional government is invited as the regulatory authority. Subject to political acceptance and approval being granted by the authorities, the world-scale plant will be built on the site of the coal-fired power plant, which will be torn down. The new TDI production plant is currently scheduled to go on stream in 2014. Dormagen will then be the sole Bayer MaterialScience site in Europe for the production of TDI. Plans call for the production of raw materials for polyurethane rigid foams to be expanded in Brunsbüttel.
Chempark Dormagen offers ideal conditions Chempark Dormagen was chosen as the site for the TDI plant in a Europe-wide selection process, with the availability of raw materials and precursors as well as the existing infrastructure being key factors in the decision. The significantly greater production capacity of the planned plant means that it will also require correspondingly greater quantities of raw materials. Whereas chlorine is already available in sufficient quantities in Dormagen, a new reformer must be built to cover the increased demand for carbon monoxide. The starting materials required for this are also available in Dormagen. Furthermore, the hydrogen produced as a byproduct of carbon monoxide production can also be further processed directly on the site.
"We are very pleased that Bayer MaterialScience has chosen Dormagen for this important investment. A plant of this size will also bring with it a series of follow-up investments, thus securing our competitiveness for the long-term," says Dr. Walter Leidinger, Head of Chempark Dormagen. The site offers the infrastructure required for these investments.
From process innovation to large-scale production TDI has been produced in Dormagen since 1964. "We have decades of experience with the production of TDI," notes Kuhne. The new world-scale plant will use an innovative process technology that has proved itself over the last six years in a Dormagen pilot plant. The new TDI process - a quantum leap in terms of energy efficiency, environmental compatibility and productivity - meets the most stringent safety standards. A large-scale plant based on this process currently under construction in Caojing, near Shanghai, China, is scheduled to go on stream in mid-2011.
TDI - a raw material with a future TDI is an important precursor for the production of polyurethane flexible foams. It is used to produce durable and high-quality comfort products that have become integral parts of modern daily life. Examples include sleep-friendly cold foam mattresses, high-end chairs and seating, and back-friendly cushions for office chairs and automobile seats, but also precision-fit protective packaging, protective cushioning for microphones and headphones and numerous other applications in the sports and leisure segment. Bayer MaterialScience expects the demand for TDI to continue to increase. With the efficient and sustainable TDI process, Bayer MaterialScience hopes to further expand its leading competitive position in this global market, which is expected to experience long-term growth.
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