By Liz White
Although the North American polyurethane market is not in “good shape,” the situation for MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) is slightly better,” commented Steve Burns, the new North American director of Huntsman’s polyurethanes business.
For example, in construction, MDI has been seeing “pretty good growth despite the low housing starts,” he said. Burns thinks the insulation sector is showing really good growth because of the rising demand for energy efficiency, as building codes get stronger, with a rising need to cut energy use for heating/cooling.
“Insulation is a key area for us, and we are putting more resources behind it, because of that,” said Burns, noting that this would include allocating more people to the business.
Some 31 percent of Huntsman’s MDI sales in 2010 went into the insulation market, its largest by sales.
The North American spray foam market is showing the fastest growth, Burns said, in a 27 Sept interview at the meeting of the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) in Nashville, Tennessee.
SPF production in North America reached 425 million lbs (193 000 tonnes) in 2010, an increase of 25 percent since 2006, acccording to the 2010 End-Use Market Survey on the Polyurethanes Industry in the US, Canada and Mexico, published by CPI.
This growth explains why Huntsman is putting a lot of effort in this area.
Monica Karamagi, Huntsman regional marketing and industry affairs manager, said that…