Brunsbüttel, – Bayer MaterialScience plans to invest roughly €100 million in the expansion of the high-tech production plant for MDI (diphenylmethane diisocyanate) at the Bayer Brunsbüttel Industrial Park in Germany. The project is part of the phased optimization concept announced previously for isocyanate production in Europe. The first of the coordinated phases is the construction of a new high-tech production plant for TDI (toluene diisocyanate) in Dormagen with an annual capacity of 300,000 metric tons per annum (tpa). The facility is scheduled to come on stream in 2014. Somewhat later, the annual capacity of the existing MDI plant in Brunsbüttel will be expanded from 200,000 metric tons to a total of 420,000 tpa. The TDI plant at the site will be converted to MDI as part of this measure.
“This investment is a clear commitment to the Brunsbüttel site. The planned world-scale MDI production facility is intended to strengthen the site and to provide long-term job security at the plant and in the region,” says Dr. Tony Van Osselaer, member of the Bayer MaterialScience Board of Management.
Start of the permitting process
The responsible authorities are expected to initiate the first step, what is known as the scoping process, in May 2011. The plant is scheduled for commissioning in 2015/2016, depending on the length of the permitting process and developments in the market.
"The plastics industry expects global demand for MDI and TDI to continue to rise" says Peter Vanacker, member of the Executive Committee of Bayer MaterialScience and responsibe for the Business Unit Polyurethanes. "With the phased implementation of our optimization concept, we hope to further expand our leading position in this global market, which is expected to experience long-term growth"
MDI is the raw material for polyurethane rigid foam, which is very effective when used for thermal insulation in buildings and in the refrigeration train. The energy savings achieved help to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, applications in modern vehicle construction provide for enhanced safety. Many national regulations require the automotive industry to incorporate specific safety features designed to reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians in the event of an accident. MDI offers these properties.
Bayer Brunsbüttel Industrial Park offers ideal conditions
The Bayer Brunsbüttel Industrial Park was chosen over other Bayer sites for the world-scale MDI plant, 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 greater quantities of raw materials. A corresponding expansion of the existing MDA facility as well as a new plant for aniline will ensure their supply.
“We are very pleased that Bayer MaterialScience has chosen Brunsbüttel for this important investment. A plant of this size ensures our competitiveness and secures both jobs and training positions for the long-term" says Dr. Volker Weintritt, site and production manager of the Brunsbüttel site.
From process innovation to large-scale production
MDI has been produced in Brunsbüttel since 1988. “We have extensive experience with the production of MDI,” says Weintritt. Bayer MaterialScience will deploy the latest technologies for this project. The new aniline plant, for example, will use the same adiabatic process used at a plant taken on stream in China in 2008. This process conserves resources and uses less energy than other processes.
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