Bayer MaterialScience to build up a world-scale plant for polymer polyols using a new technology
Commissioning scheduled in 2008 / Forward-looking production process delivers optimized products / Significantly lower energy costs.
Leverkusen – In close cooperation with Bayer Technology Services GmbH, Bayer MaterialScience AG has developed an innovative technology for the manufacture of polymer-filled polyether polyols that delivers significantly better products than the conventional process. The innovative technology has already been successfully tested on a multi-ton scale in a technical service laboratory. The new process is to be used on a world scale for the first time in a PMPO production facility with an annual capacity of 60,000 tons. It is due to be commissioned at the end of 2008 and shall be constructed either in Dormagen, Germany, or in Antwerp, Belgium. At both sites, Bayer MaterialScience already manufactures polyether polyols, one of the basic components required to produce polymer polyols. Hence, consistent use can be made of synergies, thereby further increasing the facility’s efficiency. A final decision about the location has not yet been made.
This new production process keeps the amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the end product at very low levels that were impossible to achieve with the technologies used to date. The much lower operating temperature at the processing stage of the continuous operation means that the PMPOs are only very slightly discolored. In addition to the improved product properties, Bayer MaterialScience expects a 25 percent reduction of investment costs for construction work and a decrease in energy consumption when operating production facilities by a similar percentage rate.
PMPOs are utilized throughout the world, primarily for the production of flexible polyurethane foam, which is used in large quantities in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and car seats. The reduced VOC content of the PMPOs is particularly important for applications in vehicle interiors. One reason for this is what is known as the fogging effect. This causes the deposition of thin but highly refractive films on the inside of car windows due to the heat-related migration of volatile substances from the materials used.
According to Peter Vanacker, Head of the Polyurethanes Business Unit and member of the Executive Committee at Bayer MaterialScience, “The new technology represents a quantum leap in the development of state-of-the-art production processes with even greater efficiency. It allows innovative energy management and sets new standards for efficient and resource-saving production processes. This enables us to offer our customers top-quality products with lower VOC contents and further consolidate our leading role in the world market for polyurethanes with optimized cost structures.”
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