Huntsman Corp. (The Woodlands, TX) is undertaking studies to increase methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) capacity with a world-scale MDI plant at its site in Rozenburg, the Netherlands. MDI is a key precursor for polyurethane (PUR).
The company will make a decision in 2008, with plans for a new 400,000 tonnes/yr unit coming online by the middle of 2011. Hunstman will address all production and is weighing whether to close older facilities in Europe. Huntsmans MDI is manufactured at Rozenburg near Rotterdam, Holland, with key ingredients aniline and nitrobenzene made at plants at Wilton, Teesside, England. Huntsman has system houses where the ingredients are mixed in Shepton Mallet (England) and Gothenburg (Sweden), as well as South Africa and Saudi Arabia, which fall within its Europe, Middle East, and Africa MDI market.
The company says it will employ new technologies in the production of aniline, methylene dianiline (MDA), and MDI production, which will reportedly increase raw material yields and improve energy efficiency by up to 40% compared to the previous technology. In 2006, Huntsman announced plans to construct a second MDI unit in China with its partners from the existing 240,000 tonnes capacity joint venture in Caojing, Shanghai.
Huntsman believes that during the next decade, the global MDI market will grow at around 7-8% per year, with rates in Asia above 10%. In the face of record raw-material costs, Huntsman also announced that it will increase prices globally for its MDI and polyurethane system products.[email protected]