Materials supplier Covestro plans to build its largest ever thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) site in Zhuhai, in the south of China. With an overall investment in the low three-digit million US dollar range, the facility will also be the company’s largest investment in its TPU business. TPUs offer a broad range of properties for a diverse set of applications spanning automotive and sports shoe soles to IT devices such as smart speakers and mobile phonecases.
Located in the Zhuhai Gaolan Port Economic Development Zone in Guangdong province, the new site will eventually cover an area of 45,000 square meters. The plant will be constructed over three phases. The first phase of 30,000 tonnes/year of capacity should be ready by the end of 2025. Eventually, by 2033, the site will reach its terminal production capacity of nearly 120,000 tonnes/year.
“With this new major investment, we will further expand our footprint in China, as we hope to capture the robust growth potential in the TPU market around the globe,” said Holly Lei, president of Covestro China. “The new site with cutting-edge manufacturing and innovation capabilities is also expected to contribute to development of markets in China and the rest of Asia.”
“As a world-leading supplier of high-quality polymer materials, we hope to create more innovative technology and material solutions together with our customers,” said Lisa Ketelsen, head of Covestro TPU APAC. “By locating the site in Zhuhai, we will continue to be fully integrated into China’s world-renowned IT, consumer electronics, and footwear value chains, while also supporting our Asia-Pacific and global customers. We will be faster and more flexible in providing more sustainable solutions.”
“The majority of the TPU market and its growth prospects are in Asia and, particularly, in China,” said Dr. Andrea Maier-Richter, head of TPU at Covestro. “Our investment there shows our clear intention: We want to remain successful with our customers and partners in the long run.”
An innovation center will also be part of the investment, enabling on-site researchers to design custom materials and adjust formulas to meet customer demands within very short cycles. Sustainable and more circular solutions are among the long-term core targets for these efforts, including new offerings under the recently introduced, sustainable CQ product line. Products labeled as such consist of at least 25% alternative, non-fossil raw materials.
The site will run on 100% green power. It will produce injection molding grades for footwear and a range of IT devices, as well as extrusion grades for cables, hoses, tubes, and automotive applications.