Plastics and chemicals supplier Total Petrochemicals is working on a new type of expandable polystyrene that it will offer to the building and construction industry. The new material should be ready for commercial sales in 2013.
Total Petrochemicals' research team has developed the new plastic's formulation and production technology, and says the material will offer technical and insulating properties significantly better than those of conventional white EPS.
Following the August 2010 purchase of two polystyrene lines with a combined capacity of 160,000 tonnes per year for Total's production site at Feluy, Belgium, the supplier decided to modify one of the two lines so it would be suitable for manufacture of the new expandable polystyrene.
The second polystyrene line at the Feluy facility will be used to manufacture high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) and general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS). Four other Total Petrochemicals sites in Europe also produce polystyrene: Carling and Gonfreville in France, El Prat in Spain and Stalybridge in the United Kingdom.
Total's plant in Feluy is adjacent to its R&D center. The plant has an overall capacity of more than 1.2 million tonnes per year, including three polypropylene lines with a combined capacity of 930,000 tonnes/yr. Feluy also has units producing high-density polyethylene (170,000 tonnes/yr), and 80,000 tonnes each of GPPS and HIPPS.